Jefferson Award Winner: Jeff Kuntz, Belin Backpack Mission

    Jefferson Award Winner: Jeff Kuntz, Belin Backpack Mission

    Making a difference, that is what Jefferson Award winners are all about.

    The Jefferson Award is given to people across the country for their outstanding dedication to public service.

    ABC 15 News, along with Elliot Realty and NBSC, present the first award to Jeff Kuntz.

    When Jeff Kuntz moved to the Grand Strand two years ago as a retired school principal, he was looking for a way to help his new community.

    "He loves kids and it's near and dear to his heart," said friend, Dan Young.

    Young says it was no surprise Jeff channeled his 26 years as an educator into the Belin Backpack Mission at Belin Memorial United Methodist Church in Murrells Inlet.

    "Jeff, when he told me about doing the backpack for kids, he talks about it and you can just see it in his eyes. He lights up and he gets very excited that, hey, he's doing something good," said Young.

    "Typically we sort enough food for about 160 students," said Kuntz.

    Kuntz co-chairs the effort, making sure students in Georgetown and Horry Counties do not go hungry.

    "The whole idea is so that students that are in need have food over the weekend," said Kuntz.

    Dan says he nominated Jeff for motivating 60 volunteers every week and for having a servant's heart.

    "Well, it was quite a surprise," said Kuntz.

    "I think he epitomizes what a volunteer and what a person that gives back to the community is," said Young.

    And that is why Jeff Kuntz is winner of our very first Jefferson Award.

    To nominate an outstanding volunteer in your community for the Jefferson Award, click on the 'spotlight' tab on

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