Mannie has been part of our volunteer family since January of 2021, worked all 7 of our Colorado retreats volunteering 420 total hours!
To learn more about this incredible and valued volunteer, check out our volunteer spotlight on Mannie.
How did you get connected to Project Sanctuary?
I had returned from a Veteran Retreat, and I realized I lacked purpose. I did a Google search for veteran volunteer opportunities. I stumbled upon Project Sanctuary and luckily, they were near my home. We’ve now been connected since January 2021.
When did you start volunteering?
As soon as Project Sanctuary received my background check, I immediately requested to volunteer for their January 2021 family retreat in Granby, Colorado.
How many retreats have you volunteered to assist?
Since January 2021, I have volunteered to assist in all Colorado family retreats. I have also volunteered to assist in all the 2022 Colorado retreats and anywhere else Project Sanctuary needs assistance.
What is your favorite part of volunteering that keeps you coming back?
The ability to feel the distance within a family and at the end of the retreat you’re then able to feel the warmth, love, and reconnection in that same family; that’s what keeps me wanting to volunteer. This provides more than just purpose; it’s providing meaning to my life. It’s an incredible, unique experience.
What is your favorite / most meaningful memory from your volunteer experience?
There have been many memories created through my journey with Project Sanctuary. I was in Maryland, May 2021, at a family retreat. The staff and I had hiked to the lighthouse prior to the families doing the hike themselves. We had one gentleman, a veteran, who was in a wheelchair. We were hoping for assistance from the park staff to escort him to the lighthouse, but being that it was Memorial Day weekend, they were busy. We decided that he would still make it to the lighthouse, whether we had to push or carry him; it was our mission to make this happen. Through teamwork, we made it happen. Leave no man behind!
What would you say to others that are considering volunteering?
Everyone should consider volunteering, even if its only one time. Pay it forward and I guarantee you’ll be rewarded two-fold just during one retreat. The amount of clarity experienced, the amount of humility experienced, the amount of vulnerability experienced, everything experienced during one retreat will be highly fulfilling, but the families will remember you forever!
What does receiving the Volunteer of the Year award from Project Sanctuary mean to you?
I’ve never expected to receive anything out of my volunteer contributions much less that there are even awards. I’m very grateful for the opportunity that Project Sanctuary has allowed me and the trust to keep coming back. I was medically retired from the Army in 2016 and I’ve struggled to find purpose post-military. Project Sanctuary allows me something to look forward to each month. The “Volunteer of the Year Award” provides clarity and meaning in my struggle. Thank you.
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