Current employer or place of business: Servpro of Vancouver/Clark Co.
Organization(s) I volunteer with: American Red Cross (Disaster Action Team & disaster preparedness presenter); Meals on Wheels People (delivering meals to senior’s and serving meals within various congregate center locations); Building Industry Association of Clark County (Remodelers of Clark Co. Committee, Golf Committee and Membership Committee); Battle Ground School District; and other nonprofits serving wine and beer at fundraising events giving all gratuities back.
How I got involved: I was a stay-at-home-mom of four children for 15 years. I began volunteering for Battle Ground School District in my kiddo’s classes as a way to keep from missing my babies while they were at school. I found that the schools were in dire need of consistent caring help. I did everything from working recess, playing hopscotch and hoops, to opening milk cartons in the cafeteria and planning fundraising events as the PTO president. As my kids all grew up and hit high school, they informed me that it was no longer cool to have their mom in the classroom. My focus then switched to Meals on Wheels People. The senior’s always thought it was cool to have me around. From there I have added the BIA and American Red Cross. I’m very passionate about all nonprofits. It’s my calling!
Why I give back: Giving back goes deep inside my core. It’s my own personal adrenaline rush to help others. I come from a family of very strong compassionate caring individuals. I have never really ‘needed’ for anything. My heart aches when I see people suffering or struggling for needs beyond their control or abilities.
Proudest moment as a volunteer: One of my most proud moments was when I was able to help a 6 foot 85-year-old man (who was also a Meals on Wheels volunteer) after he dropped to the ground in a full diabetic reaction, hitting his head. From the training I received through Red Cross, I was able to access, give aid to and stabilize him until the paramedics arrived. My adrenalin took over and so did my strong side. I later received a call from his doctor informing me that the care and first aid I had given saved his life. He was on blood thinners and had suffered an internal brain bleed in the fall. One wrong move could have taken his life. Made my heart skip a beat!
What local challenge or issue are you most passionate about? How to effectively educate residents in our community on what to do and what not do, in time of devastating disasters. For example, after a commercial or residential fire, I am called to the scene shortly after the event. I have observed, first hand, “scanner/fire chasers” on site using high-pressure scare tactics (even resulting in violence between competitors) all in effort to obtain contracts. Many of these “chasing contractors” come from out of state, selling jobs third-party to the highest bidder, taking potential restoration work from our local community – even hindering the task at hand of first and second responders (firemen and Red Cross volunteers). It’s intimidating and confusing to all involved. My goal is to find a way to call awareness to members of our community, empowering them to make educated choices should they encounter a devastating disaster no matter size or type.
Just for fun: What are your hidden talents? Believe it or not, I am a boxer – pink boxing gloves and all! I also consider myself an indoor soccer player/bone breaker (my own that is), and I enjoy dancing in the kitchen with that special someone.
“Paying it Forward: Volunteer Businessperson of the Week” is sponsored by Pacific Continental Bank.