The importance of volunteerism

  • Published
  • By Major David Lydon
  • 927th Security Forces Squadron
There is no shortage of worthy not-for-profit organizations looking for industrious and intelligent people to assist them with their missions. Many of them cannot function without volunteers.

The benefits of volunteerism are mutually shared. Of course, the organization benefits from your participation, but so will you. While you share your experience and leadership, you’re going to learn new things, encounter unique situations in which to apply your leadership skills and practice followership principles. In the course you’ll meet all kinds of interesting people.

Choosing a volunteer opportunity can be as natural as coaching your child’s sports team or as technically demanding as working in a crime scene processing unit as a Sheriff’s Citizen Observer Patrol (COP). Many people select opportunities in a field of interest, or try one they know nothing about, but would like to expand their knowledge.

Perhaps you have an expertise you’d like to share and teach

As a military member and veteran, I encourage joining veterans organizations. I belong to several and donate hundreds of hours each year to my local posts and chapters. I’m particularly fond of the motto of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) which is, Never Stop Serving.

Veterans organizations are more than the perceived stereotypes that I know come to mind. If you are in the military or a veteran you should be aware of the support that the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, MOAA and other similar organizations perform on your behalf.

Your local posts and chapters are the foundation for their national headquarters’ activities. These organizations represent your interests before Congress, advocate on your behalf with the Department of Veterans Affairs, offer a venue for camaraderie, promote patriotism, and serve your communities in many other ways.

Let’s pretend for a moment veterans organizations cease to exist. Who will represent you at Capitol Hill to discuss important issues regarding pay raises, benefits, Tri-Care, retirement programs, and things of that nature? Certainly military units cannot and should not, but veterans organizations can and currently still have the numbers to make an impact.

Think about who drives patriotism in your community. If not for veterans and veterans organizations, who would? Without a doubt, our Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Independence Day celebrations would be observed a whole lot differently without the participation and influence of local posts and chapters.

These organizations are unfortunately shrinking in membership. They continue to struggle to attract younger veterans. They need you. I hope I shed some light on the fact that you need them too. They are ready for fresh ideas and perspectives.

Please consider joining and taking these organizations to the future.

Remember, Never Stop Serving.