Napp (left) pictured with Lucia Rodriguez, an owner of the St. Louis Rams, after receiving the 2010 Georgia Frontiere Community Quarterback Award. Rodriguez is the daughter of Frontiere, who died of breast cancer in 2008.
At left is Tammy Iskouras of Wood River, who was a 'Community Quarterback' award runner-up for her work as director of Riverbend Family Ministries. Napp and Iskouras are pictured with Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
A Madison County associate judge who tries to "pay it forward every day" was recently selected among 150 volunteer leaders across the bi-state area for a top honor.
Judge Kyle Napp was awarded the 2010 Georgia Frontiere Community Quarterback Award for her leadership, dedication and commitment to improving the St. Louis bi-state area through volunteerism.
Napp, who was nominated for the award by an organization she helped establish in 2003 - the Madison County Child Advocacy Center - was among 10 finalists for the award given in November.
The Advocacy Center, which Napp co-founded with State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton), works toward minimizing trauma suffered by child victims of physical or sexual abuse as they go through the justice system. The organization will receive $7,500 as a result of Napp's award.
Napp also is involved with a number of Alton organizations, such as the Young Authors Program, Senior Services Plus and YWCA, as well as the Wood River Woman's Club.
Napp, who was appointed associate judge in 2007, answered a few questions for the Record.
Record: Who inspired your volunteer spirit? Describe the importance, as you see it, in devoting your time and talent to special causes.
Napp: My grandmother, who lived to be 100 years old, definitely inspired my volunteer spirit. She was a member of a dozen not for profit organizations and loved donating her time. As I spent much of my childhood with her, she would take me to all of her meetings and events. She raised me to believe that we have a responsibility to try and make the world a better place. I believe that one person can make a difference.
Record: The Madison County Child Advocacy Center nominated you for the Frontiere volunteer award. Are you particularly drawn to groups that help children?
Napp: When I started at the State's Attorney's office in 1993, I was assigned to the juvenile division. I prosecuted hundreds of abuse and neglect cases and there were so many children who desperately needed someone to fight for them, who needed a chance. I found that children are incredibly resilient and brave. They inspire me. They make me want to be a better person. I love working with them.
Record: You've been an associate judge since August 2007. How is the job going? What types of cases do you oversee?
Napp: I am currently assigned to the Criminal-Felony division. I have a felony docket, am appointed to oversee the mental health and drug courts, handle misdemeanor and felony appearances, contested preliminary hearings and petitions to revoke, bond hearings and I also run the truancy court. I am definitely kept busy, but I work with a great group of people. I am incredibly fortunate.
Record: How do you juggle volunteerism, raising a family and doing the peoples' work on the court?
Napp: My husband, Allan, is an attorney practicing in Alton. We have three great kids, Ian, 13, Aiden, 11, and Grace, 9, who attend Alton public schools. They all made straight As last semester. We are so very proud of them. My husband and my children are 100 percent supportive of my volunteer work. Often times my children are working alongside me, just as I did with my grandmother. Having my families support makes it possible for me to be involved with so many worthwhile organizations. I have a hard time saying "No" when someone asks for my help. My kids joke with me that they wish I had as hard a time saying "No" to them.
Record Can you recall a humbling, sobering and/or uplifting moment while on the bench?
Napp: A funny moment on the bench occurred with a young woman who had been in court for a traffic ticket. Traffic court is a high volume court with hundreds of people passing through each day. It was the end of the docket and she was sitting on the bench. When I asked her if she needed some help, she said no, she had already spoken with the prosecutor. She said she stayed because she enjoyed watching me handle the characters that had appeared in court that day. She said it was better than watching Judge Judy!
Record: Are you religious or spiritual?
Napp: I have a deep faith in God. I wouldn't be who I am without my faith. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities that I have been given and I try to pay it forward every day.