‘Our hidden treasures’

LIHUE — Filing tax returns is not a pleasant task even for Brian and Coleen Kasperek, who dedicate their time and expertise to Kauai’s residents to help them during tax season.

“It’s why we do it. Doing taxes is not the most fun thing in the world, but the people are so appreciative,” Brian said.

Brian and Coleen were recognized for their community outreach efforts as area coordinators for the AARP Tax-Aide program on Wednesday afternoon at the Piikoi Building by AARP National with an award and a commemorative pin.

“I really appreciate them and enjoy the fact that they’re being recognized. They’re our hidden treasures,” said Janice Bond, team leader of AARP Kauai.

Brian and Coleen said that they helped about 300 people on the Westside of the island with their taxes this season and another 150 on the eastside with a team of four other volunteers.

Stu Burley, vice president and treasurer for AARP Chapter 654, said the work the Kaspereks do to alleviate the stress of tax season is important not only for those who need help, but jokingly said how it takes the burden of doing his taxes correctly off his shoulders.

“I really appreciate what you both do,” he said. “Volunteering is magnificent word in the English language. And what you’re volunteering for, is that you’ll go to jail filling out my tax return for me! And I’m really thrilled with that!”

Brian agreed that helping people with their taxes is rewarding, although it can be a lengthy process.

“The most we had in one day was about 30 people,” he said. “Usually, we schedule for two and a hours but sometimes it can be three to four hours depending on the person.”

With National Volunteer Week just around the corner from April 23-29, Bond called this award for the Kasperek’s a fitting recognition.

“That’s the reward we really get,” Coleen said. “It’s nice and all that people go out of their way and send in these applications, but the real reward is when someone says that they really appreciate what we’ve done, or when someone calls us up and says that they really appreciate what we did for them. That’s why we do it; to get that good feeling of helping out our neighbors.”

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