I have always enjoyed volunteering. I love opportunities to do something for the greater good. I remember a conversation I had with a cousin of mine a few years ago when I was a volunteer coach for a girls running program. She said that she wished she had time to do something like that. She and her husband were both partners in large companies, and while they were able to make sizeable financial contributions to charitable organizations, they just didn’t have the time to get actively involved. My response to her was, “Some people have money to donate but they don’t have time, while others have time to donate but not money. Both contributions are equally valuable and necessary for an organization to accomplish a mission.” While I know that is true from a logical standpoint, the more I find myself involved in volunteerism the more I believe that if someday I find myself in the financial position to write a huge check to a charitable organization, I will still get actively involved in carrying out the mission. Why, you ask? Selfishly, because I like the way it makes me feel. Research has shown that volunteering has many physical, emotional, social and even professional benefits. You can read more here:
For several years the country club next to my office has held a golf tournament to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and David Feherty’s Troops First Foundation. A few weeks before the tournament, the golf pro at the club participates in a golf marathon, playing as many consecutive rounds of golf as he can in one day. People pledge a dollar amount per hole to raise additional funds for the cause. In the past, my contribution to the event was to donate a massage for the golf pro the day after the marathon, to help him recover from the effort. This year was no exception. I donated my massage to the assistant golf pro, a young man by the name of Johnlen, who took on the challenge. So after I finished my office hours on Monday, I went over to the club to see how he was doing. He was just finishing up his 13th round. As he was teeing off to start his 14th round, one of the guys in his support crew asked if I wanted to hop in one of golf carts that made up the support caravan. I followed him for two and half rounds, jumping out at one point to make a Starbucks run when Johnlen felt the need for a caffeine boost. During the time I followed along, there were at least a dozen different people who volunteered some time to help out. There was someone to tee up his shot, another person would locate his ball on the fairway and give him the distance to the pin, and another would be waiting on the green with his putter. There was another person who would go ahead to the next hole to alert players ahead of him on the course that he was approaching and to allow him to play through. It was a well-oiled machine moving around him for the purpose of making his play as efficient as possible, so that he could play as many rounds as possible, so that he could raise more money for the cause. What’s not to like about that?
While it was a lot of fun spending a beautiful afternoon out on a golf course with like-minded people, doing my little bit to contribute; it was also very uplifting. I was so impressed by this young man who took on this challenge with unbridled enthusiasm. At one point during his 15th round when I’m sure his body and mind were starting to fatigue, I noticed that any time someone would call out, “Nice shot”, Johnlen would make a point to say “Thank you.” And not just an obligatory “Thanks” as he rushed to his next shot, but a genuine, heart-felt “Thank you, Mr. Smith” or “Thank you, Mr. Potts.” He was sincerely grateful for the encouragement and support. I think about why someone would take on such an arduous challenge. Did he do this for pay? Nope, all the money raised goes to the charity. Did he do it for bragging rights? Perhaps, he did break the club record by playing 18 and a half consecutive rounds before bad weather forced him to stop. But I like to think he’s just a good guy who decided to use his powers (and talent) for good! And that makes me happy! It also made me happy when he showed up to Connective Touch Therapeutic Massage on Tuesday morning for his recovery massage. It gave me another opportunity to use MY powers for good!