“I kid you not — I stood there in front of those kids and my knees were going like this and my hands were shaking,” Gundy said. “I couldn’t wait to get those books read and get out of that school. I was scared to death.
“And look at me know,” he added.
“Grandpa” Gundy has become a fixture at both Peach Plains Elementary School and White Pines Intermediate School, volunteering countless hours to read books to the kids.
On Wednesday, he arrived at White Pines expecting to read to Bob Whipkey’s sixth-graders. Instead, Gundy ended up in the school’s library, where he was presented with an award.
“You’re always going above and beyond, and everyone can agree that this award is perfect for you,” sixth-grader Rosalee Springer said. “We’d like to thank you for being such a great grandpa for everyone here.”
“Each class that you visit, you make us feel so special, and the kids adore you,” added teacher Holly Taylor-Reus.
Gundy first read two books to the collection of sixth-graders, interjecting short anecdotes and his trademark chuckle throughout the stories. He was then presented with the “And Then Some” award, as well as a collection of handmade cards and small gifts from the dozens of students listening to his stories.
“Man, this overwhelmed me,” Gundy said. “I never saw this coming. My heart was thumping, and to come here and see all these kids — it was awesome, really awesome.”
After being presented with the award, Gundy read one more book, one he called one of his favorites: “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”