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cheersThis volunteer appreciation week, I thought about the volunteers I personally appreciate and so I want to publicly acknowledge them. (names changed, however).

Bill: For giving me that coveted family recipe for Yorkshire pudding-yum

Jewel: For always being the first one to call me when I make a typo on flyers and telling me you’ll be at the meeting at 3am (oh, didn’t I say 3pm?)

George: For calling me once a month with a joke-always needed

Aida: For teaching me how to make real tamales at your house-complete with margaritas

Mel: For your “Bob Dylan” impersonation that makes me snort with laughter

Sadie: For always being the one volunteer I tell my stresses to, don’t know why I do that to only you, but you always make me feel like it’s going to be ok

Kim: For always taking my face into your hands and looking into my eyes and telling me that I’m loved

Bud: For always gruffly saying, “oh here comes the suit” when you see me. You actually make me feel like a manager

Terri: For always understanding when I have to write down what you need and telling you that I have to call you back and then forgetting to do even that

Syl: For being new and jumping right in, and then, in all the chaos, announcing that you “love it here”

Lucy: For being part of that hair brained scheme called “recruit by food” and then doing your Edith Ann impersonation when it failed… miserably

Josie: For believing me when I involved you in that project and not wavering even once

Harry: For always kissing my hand (very Louis XIV)  when you see me

Delores: For laughingly grabbing that paper out of my hands when I sheepishly said I forgot to give it to you and not making me feel like I’ve let you down

Martin: For bringing me that obscure book on Marcel Proust because you remembered I liked him way back in college

Walt: For giving me that figurine because your late wife shared my birth day

Kristen: For laughing at my jokes in front of your savvy student friends so that I didn’t look like an idiot

Dot: For always making that trip to the mail room before you leave because you know I’m not going to get away

Kitty: For meeting me, at night, at that patient’s house

Carla: For taking me under your wing when I got here and showing me how to care

Phil: For telling me every time you see me how much you enjoyed my class

Bob: For talking sports with me

Tobi: For making sense of the spreadsheets

Tuesday crew: For the “News Flashes”

In looking back over this list, I realize, I have a very lot to be grateful for. I’m sure I’ve left many of you out, not to mention looking back over the years at all the volunteers I’ve known. Each one of you has made an impression on me and taught me something valuable. You may not know it, but you keep me going. It feels as though you are somehow extensions of me that are doing good in this world. I know that sounds selfish, and I don’t mean it that way, but I feel connected to you and the great things you do come humming back the way blood circulates throughout the body. I am proud of you and humbled by your work ethic. I’m protective of you and yet amazed at your strength. I’m careful to get what you need yet bolstered by your resilience. You, my friends, are the best and just being in your presence is enough to look back one day and say, “I was part of something”.

Cheers to you all! You have made my life richer, more complex, more interesting and infinitely more worthwhile. You are most appreciated.