Today whilst walking Tipsy-sausage around Lake Calhoun in January temperatures, we kept coming across people picking up litter and putting it in distinctive yellow bags.
These folks looked like fairly normal - albeit freezing cold - types, but they had turned up on the kind of Saturday that would make most folks hit the snooze buttons to do something that most people wouldn't even notice because it mattered to them. I LOVE that.
Volunteers are an unusual breed. They are fueled by something you often can't see, they pour pour enormous amounts of time, energy and sometimes cold hard cash into the object of their devotion and many times are virtually un-stopable.
Many volunteers get involved because a cause suddenly affects them or someone they love. That was certainly the case with me when my Aunt Audrey contracted breast cancer and so I formed a team 'The Wild Women' and we walked sixty miles in three days to raise money for breast cancer research. It was hard work, but we felt we were making a difference and $23,000 later we knew we had.
But all along the sixty mile walk there were hundreds and perhaps even thousands of others who cheered us, fed & watered us, lanced and bandaged our blisters and did many other unglamorous and overlooked jobs. Just so the show could stay on the road.
As many of you will know I'm not one for routine, to get even the simplest of things done routinely is a huge challenge to me, so the volunteers I most admire are the ones that show up at nursing homes, at homeless shelters, at animal rescue centers, at kids sports activities - EVERY WEEK or WHENEVER THEY ARE NEEDED. They can be counted on week in and week out to be there and volunteer when I am 'out at happy hour' or 'up north at the cabin'. I heart serial volunteers.
I feel very blessed to have come from a family of volunteers, we have various branches including the 'IT service desk', the 'Organization (of anything) center', the 'Looking after old people squad' and last but not least 'Cupcake central'.
Whatever your gift or talent, I know others will be blessed if you volunteer it.
HUG a volunteer TODAY!