Service and volunteerism

  • Published
  • By Diane McCurdy
  • 71st Force Support Squadron director
True service is an attitude that always involves sacrifice, and is a constant battle to do what you believe or know you should do versus what you want to do.

Serving others and volunteering comes very naturally for some. For those individuals, service can be an automatic response when there is a call for help or volunteers. For others, this does not come as naturally and they must push themselves and choose to serve or volunteer.

What we must ask ourselves is why we serve? Is this about you or about those you serve? As I often tell our squadron, "In life there are things that are bigger than you" and "Ask yourself more than what's in it for me."

Volunteering for any event is about giving of yourself so that others can benefit from your service. Unit and base wide functions and activities are all opportunities for anyone and everyone who participates to serve.

Whether active duty military, civilian or a family member, we should all make sure we participate and commit some of our time regardless of the amount, when the call is made for volunteers. Volunteering and serving others is contagious. As our children watch us, they learn to do for others. As our peers see us do they agree to do likewise.

Base volunteerism at its best, is not a few volunteers serving for several hours; it is several volunteers serving for a few hours.

Service is not, and should not, be rank driven. It should not be passed off as an airman's duty or for students awaiting pilot training. We can all give. As leaders, we can let those we lead see us lead in places other than behind a desk.

Putting on events is not someone else's responsibility, nor do they just happen. In order to make the Post Inspection Party, the Base Yard Sale, Camp Tomahawk, Tops In Blue and Fall Fest work, we all need to help.

Again, service requires sacrifice. It is seldom convenient, and not always exciting or fun, but it is always necessary. The concept of "pay it forward" seems to have been rediscovered as of late, but was used as early as the 1700s by Ben Franklin and later by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This concept says some things such as time and service can't be paid back, but can be passed on.

So the next time there is a need for volunteers, please help out by being one of the many giving a couple of hours of time. Be one of the many who are paying it forward.