The Pratt family is known for its volunteering. Katie Pratt (far right) learned from her parents and now shares the love of community involvement with, left to right, husband Andy, daughter Natalie, and son Ethan. George Howe/Amboy News
BY GEORGE HOWE, Amboy News Reporter
AMBOY – It takes a special kind of person to dedicate a good part of their life to help serve others. Katie Pratt is one such individual. Growing up on her parents’ farm just east of Amboy, Pratt had it instilled in her at an early age giving back was the norm. “It’s a learned behavior from my parents to get involved,” she said.
Pratt went to Franklin Center school and holds fond memories of her parents’ involvement at the school and in the community. “My mom volunteered in the classroom and helped coach. My dad was active with the Lee County Pork Producers, which is part of the Lee County Farm Bureau that he also sat on the regional board,” Pratt shared. “I feel that it’s an unwritten duty that if you are going to live in a community, you find time to make it a better place, and so I stay involved.” And boy, does she ever. Pratt sat on the Katherine Shaw Bethea (KSB) Hospital Board for 10 years. She is a member of the Lee County United Way Board. From a very young age, she has been part of the Lee County 4-H as a leader for the Young Seekers Clover Bud Group. She’s also a member of the Golden Aces 4-H club in Ashton.She is a member of the Future Farmers of America alumni and helps coordinate the trivia night fundraiser.
Pratt followed in her father’s footsteps and has been a part of the Lee County Fair Association for 20 years. She is married to Andy Pratt, who’s part of the township board for Nachusa. Their children, daughter Natalie and son Ethan, play important roles come fair time. “From a very young age my kids were exposed to helping others because they had no choice but to come with me,” she explained. “Working at the fair every year has made them part of the fabric of the event and they do a great job.” Andy is pleased of his wife’s community involvement and dedication, as well as their children. “Our involvement is the nature of how we were both raised, and we’ve tried to pass that on to our kids,” said Andy. “I call Katie a professional volunteer as she is non-stop giving and always tries to make others better by what she does. I’m proud of her.”
Her involvement doesn’t end there. For the last 12 years, Pratt has been the Agriculture Literacy Coordinator as she teaches in the classroom for the Lee County Ag Association. After holding most of the positions on the Amboy School Board, she is currently the President. With everything she’s involved in, questions of her time management skills are often addressed in Pratt’s direction.
“The right answer is that I’m very organized with my schedule, but the reality is that most of the time I’m flying by the seat of my pants,” Pratt said with a hardy laugh. “I’m a procrastinator by nature. I’ve got it down but some days I wonder.” Pratt’s continued participation isn’t lost on most who attend meetings, events, and social gatherings. Her modesty is a strong quality never looking for a pat on the back and is appreciated by many. “She’s a great role model for the kids in the area always finding time to keep things going,” said former Amboy Mayor John Schamberger. As her parents passed on to her, Pratt wants to share the importance of giving back. “Every time we can pass on the importance of giving back, especially to the kids, like getting involved in food drives or cleaning up a section of highway, it stokes in them a very satisfying feeling to know that in a small way they have contributed to the betterment of where we live,” Pratt said. “it makes what we do special.” That message isn’t lost and resonates for one such kid. “Having my parents around and so involved in the community is really good,” said daughter Natalie. “They’ve taught me how to be a leader and the importance of giving back to where you live. With my mom being so involved with the school board all she’s trying to do is to better the education for all of the kids and that’s a complete positive. My Mom is my best friend for sure 100 percent, and she makes me proud.” You can imagine that having a night at home together is few and far between at times but enjoyable for a volunteering family. “Naturally, we love being together at home but none of us are couch potatoes,” Pratt said. “It would become very boring, and we much prefer our very full life giving back.”