#DifferenceMakers: Kelly Gillis, CCBCO

Kelly Gillis, CCBCO, Compliance Officer, Woodlands Bank

Beyond community banking, tell us what you are involved with in your community.

Kelly: I am Treasurer of the Master Sergeant (MSG) Sean Thomas Foundation, an active member and current board member of the Rotary Club of Hughesville, and have recently become involved with Susquehanna Valley CASA as a volunteer.

Can you share with us the reason you are so passionate about the organization(s) with which you are involved?

Kelly: The one thing that all three of these organizations have in common is they all focus on our local communities, even though the populations they serve are different. With CASA, it’s vulnerable children in the surrounding counties. In Rotary, I think their motto “Service Above Self” is reflective of what we do internationally and for our local community. The MSG Sean Thomas Foundation supports local military members and their families.

What prompted you to be a #DifferenceMaker in your community?

Kelly: I have a large family that has been active in our local community over the years. My parents are amazing people who instilled in us compassion, kindness, and a willingness to help others. In March 2007, my brother MSG Sean Thomas was killed in Baghdad, Iraq. Even though our grief was tremendous, the amount of support and care that we received from the surrounding communities was unbelievable. Being on the receiving end of that kind of support changed my life. It inspired me to want to try and give a small piece of what we received back. Shortly after losing my brother, we started a foundation in his name, the MSG Sean Thomas Foundation. Our mission is to support military members (past and present) and their families during times of need in Lycoming, Clinton, and Union counties. In addition, we provide annual monetary awards to nominated graduating seniors who have selflessly committed to joining the military upon graduation. Being able to help others through our Foundation provides some comfort and purpose knowing that we can pay kindness and support forward.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your involvement with your community?

Kelly: Seeing smiles on the faces of people at community events sponsored by Rotary, or reading the thank you letters from recipients of support from our Foundation gives me joy. Knowing that you can make a difference in someone’s life through giving a small amount of your time or energy is what drives me and makes every minute of volunteering worthwhile. I also hope that the impact of my volunteering may spark a desire in others to get involved, whether that be my children or someone that we’ve impacted along the way.

You obviously have a strong desire to give back to your community, does your volunteer work ever mix with your professional life?

Kelly: I recently started working at Woodlands Bank, but they have been involved with our Foundation since the beginning. Woodlands Bank has been a sponsor of our annual golf tournament for years, which is the only fundraiser we do. Not only do they provide sponsorship support, but now as an employee they also allow flexibility in my schedule so that I can continue to participate in activities with all of the organizations I support. It’s rare to find an employer that has the same passion as you in supporting the local communities, and I’m privileged to have found that at Woodlands, and I cannot think of a better place to be. The impact that Woodlands Bank has on the local communities it serves and the volunteer work by their employees is inspiring.

You are obviously very busy, what is your favorite way to unwind at the end of the day?

Kelly: I have a wonderful family and great group of friends who I spend my free time with. At home, I enjoy walking or playing golf, finding a local Quizzo trivia game, or just getting together and spending time with family and friends. My husband Frank and I enjoy traveling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to spend time with our daughter Brittany, and to Fort Stewart, Georgia to spend time with our son Dylan who is currently serving in the U.S. Army. We also enjoy traveling to our favorite spot in the Dominican Republic with our family and friends.

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