All about money? Not for volunteers
We’ve been through another flood. My heart goes out to people impacted. Cleaning up after one of these events is daunting. Having a house full of mud and water is unimaginable. In the middle of this tragedy we see some of the best in Americans, people stepping up to help their neighbors and total strangers in their time of need. Some risked their own lives in water rescues. Others helped with the clean-up or stepped up with hot meals and donations. Americans volunteered their time, talent and money to help those in need.
After the 2016 floods our high school soccer team volunteered as part of the clean-up, distribution of food and cleaning supplies to those impacted. People drove hundreds of miles to help. They showed up at the distribution center and reported to the State Policewoman in charge with the question, “Where can we help?” She put them to work. Trucks showed up from out of state full of much needed donated supplies.
Our church was near the flood area and became a place for volunteers to stay. Parishioners made sure they were well fed. Churches from hundreds of miles away sent needed supplies to our church not knowing where else to send them. We were able to redirect them to other churches in the flood area for distribution. Volunteers were working long hours to help those in need. That is what Americans do.
Growing up our parents taught us the importance of giving. Both my parents came from large families. When one of our relatives was moving everyone showed up to help. Our pay was fellowship and good food when we finished. My Dad was a carpenter and did a lot of work for people in poor neighborhoods who couldn’t afford to pay. They were always grateful and fed us well. The tradition of giving continues in our family today. When Lynnda and I bought out first house it needed a roof. My five brothers drove from Pittsburgh to Michigan to put it on. They were the brains since most are in construction. I was a laborer. All of our children grew up with the mindset of service to others. They continue to volunteer and are an example to their children and others.
My experience is in the energy industry. Volunteerism was the norm even though field people worked long hours. Helping others is the right thing to do. Companies gave money to the communities they were in, not for publicity because there was little. Only people directly involved knew. I worked in the Columbia Gas Building in Charleston on a project for several years. I learned early on you didn’t want to be coming into the building at 4:30 p.m. because everyone was rushing out. I assumed they were in a hurry to get home. What I learned was many were hurrying to their volunteer work. They were Junior Achievement volunteers, helping children to read, coaching sports teams and many other things. They didn’t get paid. They did it because they had talents and time they were willing to share. Many small energy companies donated money in a very difficult year so the less fortunate could have meals.
Whenever there was a public hearing on an oil and gas issue the “antis” would show up in force. One of their standard lines was, “It’s all about the money.” I would laugh because they had no clue. Oil and gas is not alone, the petrochemical and manufacturing industries are similar in their concern for people and communities. American industry is learning what the workers who are out volunteering always knew. We need to take care of people and the communities where we work and live. We don’t always hear about the good things people and companies do. There are far more people volunteering and helping others than are stealing or committing violent crimes. We know the lead story on the news is rarely about volunteerism.
The pandemic has been with us for a year now. We have heard only a few of the many stories of people helping others. Young people delivered groceries and medications to older people who couldn’t get out. Others donated and delivered groceries to people in need. Some people led online programs during the lockdowns to give people joy, entertainment and social interaction. We can all probably think of many acts of kindness and giving during the pandemic. People are voluntarily donating their time, talent and money to help others.
I am privileged to work with a giving group of successful business and community leaders at Shale Crescent USA. They volunteer countless hours to the mission of bringing high wage jobs back to our region and raising the standard of living for the people who live here. They all are leaders on their “day jobs” that demand their attention. Somehow, they find a way to do both. They are passionate about the mission of Shale Crescent USA. Lynnda, my wife says it best, “You are consumed by (the mission of) Shale Crescent.” Maybe that is why we are seeing success. We have a generational opportunity to change people’s lives in a very positive way.
In these challenging times it is easy to think of all that is wrong. It is easy to overlook all that is right with America and our communities. Americans are giving, caring people. Our communities are full of people who willingly volunteer their time and talents. They don’t get paid. Many give their own money to the causes they volunteer for. Most don’t look for or want recognition. They do what they do because they can and it is the right thing to do. We are blessed to be surrounded by giving people. They deserve our appreciation. Thank a volunteer today. For them it’s not about the money.
Greg Kozera, firstname.lastname@example.org is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. www.shalecrescentusa.com. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.