Jan 4, 201711:23 AMCity Beat
Volunteer of the Month, January 2017
Tell the readers about your volunteering.
I am honored to sit on the Capital Region Board of Directors for the American Heart and Stroke Association. I also volunteer time to the regional council for Junior Achievement, the American Cancer Society, York & PA State SHRM, my local Freemason lodge, Riverside 503/Eureka West Shore 302, Leadership Harrisburg Area and have recently gotten involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Why do you volunteer? What do you get out of it?
I come from very humble beginnings, adopted and raised by my grandfather in Bedford Pennsylvania. I made it a personal goal of mine to someday be able to give back 10-fold what this world has given to me. I consider myself very blessed and, in turn, would like to leave a lasting legacy of philanthropy.
Describe the feeling you get from volunteering.
Volunteering has done more for me than I have for it. Volunteering has been empowering and, at the same time, humbling. I find that volunteering has helped me not only in my professional life but also personally. Volunteering has enhanced my skill sets and offered rewards beyond anything financial. It has given me hope for our community.
Of all the charitable organizations out there, what is it about the American Heart Association that compels you to volunteer?
I do not think that many people realize that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women. More people die from this than all cancers combined! That being said, the American Heart Association funds life-saving research, much of which occurs right in our back yard. It is because of this research that the man who adopted me, when faced with heart failure, was able to live three more years!
What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer at the American Heart Association, as well as any other charity in the area?
Get involved. It will be the best thing you ever do. Not only will you meet people who will inspire you; you will be able to inspire others! Volunteering with the AHA goes beyond fundraising. We need people to get involved at every level. Whether they are young professionals or seasoned individuals, we are always looking for people to volunteer time and skills to our mission. Keep in mind 1 out of every 4 people will die from cardiovascular disease – the life you save could be your own.
If you had the power to instantly change one thing in the world, what would it be and why?
I would give everyone the ability to empathize. The ability to understand one another, I believe, would eliminate much of the ugliness we see in the world.
Where and with whom do you find inspiration?
I have had so many awesome influences in my life! I find great inspiration in the kindness of humanity, but if I had to name a person, it would be my grandfather who always asked that I make him proud and be a good man.
Alive or dead, name one person you’d like to have lunch with and why?
My grandfather. We have plenty to catch up on including the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tell us about your fellow volunteers at the American Heart Association?
I have met some of the very best of our community! From survivors to caregivers, those who donate selflessly of their time and energy. I want to thank our board chair, Barb Bowker. Her leadership is inspiring!
What is the single most important moment of charity you have ever been a part of or witnessed?
Donald Leader, Velma Sallada, Kathy and Gary Schrift, adopted a 2-year-old boy named Justin and raised him selflessly and as their own.