How did you get connected to Project Sanctuary?
I was working for First Command when they began to support Project Sanctuary in several ways. After we retired from First Command, Ann and I were looking for volunteer opportunities. We met a Project Sanctuary staff member who was in the area meeting with other contributors and she encouraged us to volunteer for a retreat in Texas, and we did.
When did you start volunteering?
Our first retreat was in October 2016 at The Retreat at Balcones Springs.
Have you always volunteered together?
Ann and I have always attended the retreat together. With Ann’s background as a teacher’s assistant, working with children with disabilities, she contributes a tremendous amount to the youth activities. She also connects with the military spouses because she was an Army Brat and then became an Army Wife. This is the only life she has known.
How many retreats have you volunteered to assist?
At the end of 2020, Ann and I have volunteered for 30 retreats. How many do you typically do in a year? We like to volunteer for about 6 or 7 retreats a year.
What is your favorite part of volunteering that keeps you coming back?
Ever since our very first retreat, we saw the change in the family dynamics from the first day to the last day. It was mind-blowing to see a broken family come together and interact with others in such a positive way. This convinced us that we needed to be a part of this organization and help other military/veteran families heal.
What is your favorite / most meaningful memory from your volunteer experience?
We have been privileged to visit some great venues across our great country. We have seen the massive redwoods and moose that walk right by the window. Our favorite memory is probably making new friends and knowing we have played some small positive role on their journey. Each retreat is different, and each one brings with it a special memory, unique to that retreat. To narrow it down to a single memory would be impossible.
What would you say to others that are considering volunteering?
If you want to make a difference in this world, your time is a precious gift. Not only do you get to enrich the lives of so many deserving families, but your life will also be changed too. “TIME” is just another 4-letter word called “LOVE”.
What does receiving the very first Volunteer of the Year award from Project Sanctuary mean to you?
When Ann and I were told we were receiving this award, we were very surprised and very much honored. It is very special to be recognized for all the many hours we have dedicated to these wonderful families. To be clear, we don’t do it for the accolades, but we do it because volunteering makes a difference. Thank you, Project Sanctuary, for selecting Ann and I as the very first Volunteer of the Year. We are truly humbled and honored to accept this award, and we do so by recognizing all the other volunteers for sharing their special talents and precious time in serving these deserving families. It is a collective effort of many dedicated volunteers to make it work.
Anything else you would like to add?
Ann and I believe in Project Sanctuary’s mission and know that the entire Project Sanctuary staff and the other volunteers work very well together in accomplishing this life-changing mission.
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