A recent occurrence got me to thinking about the idea of “Giving Back”. It made me reflect upon the individuals and couples that I’ve come to know through volunteering.
Sometimes in our lives, if we are lucky, we will be asked to volunteer or help with our child’s school, fundraiser, scouting, church function and/or various other organizations. It is my belief that each event’s success rests solely on the shoulders of its volunteers.
A good six out of the past eight years, I have been involved with my children’s High School Band and Color Guard. Going in, I did not realize how much work and funding it takes to sustain a successful, and highly competitive, Band and Color Guard organization.
I remember my first two years of sitting curb-side with my wife, watching our son march by. Such a thrill! However, I noticed the volunteer parents; most smiling, some sweating, and some with serious faces. Now I understand what it feels like to be on that side of the street or field. While physically demanding, we don’t regret giving up our comfortable stadium or curb-side view for a chance to work in the trenches, near to the action! The student’s smiles were rewarding and enough to give purpose to our actions. Another unexpected reward, was getting to know the people: parents, who are now friends, in a joined comradery that we would never have known nor experienced otherwise.
One parent, who happened to be a brain surgeon, once said, “I plan my work schedule around the band’s schedule.” He and his wife continue to help the band years after their two kids graduated.
Another couple, who ran their own business while providing immense support to the band, had almost two full-time jobs. He literally worked himself into nearly leaving this world. While recovering from a heart attack and shoulder surgery, he was back assisting the band way before the doctors would clear him.
Another fine gentleman put in a full day’s work and then came straight out to help the band. I can go on and on about many wonderful examples of parents and individuals who give selflessly.
Recently I was brought to deep sadness when one of our dearest Band and Color Guard parents passed away. He was half of a loving couple that gave selflessly of their limited time and energy to help our students succeed. Their two daughters had already gone through the band, and beyond, into adulthood. Life, taken so unexpectedly, does not seem fair. I can’t imagine losing my spouse. I am saddened and cannot completely comprehend her loss. She is someone who has given endlessly and yet, now has had so much taken away. It brings me to a loss for words. I hope that someday she can smile again with the knowledge that there are hundreds of parents and students deeply indebted to her. I know my family’s time with the Band and Color Guard has been that much more memorable and fulfilling because of her leadership.
The Band and Color Guard’s success is greatly indebted to the couples and individuals that have sacrificed time away from their families.
Remember to “Give Back”. You may never know the magnitude of how your sacrifice will affect others, but it will.