Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More than a Volunteer

Volunteers, by far, have been the best part of my career with the American Cancer Society. During my twelve years at ACS, I can't even begin to fathom how many volunteers I've worked with. It has to be well over 1,000, if I gave my best guess!

Working with volunteers is inspirational on a daily basis. To see how much they freely give for the good of ACS is sometimes unreal. I am thankful every single day for the volunteers we have within this organization, and most importantly, those who choose to donate their time to help me.

My husband jokes when we travel throughout Western Kentucky because, more often than not, I'll see a previous or current volunteer. And Noah will assume, if he finds a Relay shirt in a crowd, that I know anyone he sees! It truly has been a blessing to meet and work with so many amazing people. Aside from the personal connection to cancer in my family, volunteers are why I've continued to work for ACS.

While I've made lasting relationships across my territory, those that mean the most are the ones that have transitioned from volunteer to friend. I truly believe God puts people in our life for a reason and he continually bestows upon me, both personally and professionally, good souls. I have certainly been blessed with treasured friendships from so many of my volunteers.

What's even better is that they were unexpected. When our relationships began, it was purely professional, but grew over time. Some took a few years to blossom and others bloomed almost immediately. These friendships have carried me through very joyous occasions to tragedies in my life. It is those moments of caring, when not anticipated, that stick with you forever. I'll never forget what those acts of kindness - from a sweet card, to a meal, to a hug, have meant to me.

Lives change, people move, and volunteers step down or back for various reasons. Those relationships don't stop though and continue as friendships for life, I hope. These friendships mean more to me than I could ever describe and they bring me joy daily.

How great it is to work every day with people you love, admire and appreciate. Volunteers are what motivate me every day to do the best job I can for the American Cancer Society - and for them!


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