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BEST VOLUNTEER: Martelle Luedecke

Martelle Luedecke (background) gives credit to her teenage children, J.P. (left), Samm, and Briezie, for her drive toward volunteerism, which led to her being voted Best Volunteer in the Burnet Area in The Picayune’s Locals Love Us awards. Courtesy photo

CASSIE— Martelle Luedecke has a deep-rooted passion for nature and giving back to the community — a trait she said is fueled by a “symbiotic” relationship with her teenage children.

“My kids go with me. It’s all four of us. (We volunteer with) anything that has to do with kids and nature,” Luedecke said. “We all have different talents. It’s a great synchronicity, keeping ourselves together, building upon that, then sharing it.”

Her children — 14-year-old J.P., 16-year-old Briezie, and 17-year-old Samm — have energized her to embrace several volunteer projects, events, and efforts.

She volunteers for a number of groups and causes, including the Highland Lake Master Naturalists, the Upper Highland Lakes Nature Center, Adopt-A-Highway, Kids Day Out, and Candlelight Ranch.

“Candlelight Ranch is set up for at-risk, high-risk foster kids,” she said. “A group came out who were blind. I got to watch my youngest boy help blind children learn how to cast (a fishing rod).”

For her work in the community, The Picayune readers and KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune listeners voted Luedecke the Best Volunteer in the Burnet area in the annual Locals Love Us awards.

She said her father, well-known Master Gardener Bill Luedecke, and her mother also deserve recognition for cultivating her interest in nature.

Luedecke helps her father write a column on the subject, which appears in The Picayune.

“I love science. I’ve been taking dad’s vast knowledge and applying it,” she said. “I’m always out in the field testing and checking new things.

“I want everyone to have accurate information, and one of the best ways to do that is use yourself as a lab rat,” she added.

Martelle Luedecke has bachelor degrees in biology and psychology from Texas State University. She has enrolled in a Texas Tech University program in the career field of forensic nursing with an eye on working with sexual assault victims.

“I’ve been very blessed, and the only thing to do is to share it,” she said.

When she moved to the community about three years ago, she knew she found home.

“We’re all Austin transplants, but it is so awesome to live out here because the community truly brings out the best in you,” Luedecke said. “There are a thousand people who I can think of who should have had this award instead of me, and it definitely should have my children’s names on it.”

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