Sometimes You Make a Difference


People have wondered why we enjoy volunteering.  We put in a lot of hours, often there isn’t a lot of thanks expressed, but we carry on with our job and do the best we can with the resources we have available.

I want to share something we were giving during our visit with Belva our former boss at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

Last summer while I was Volunteer Coordinator I had a phone call from one of our volunteers, Dallas Vibbert.  He’s a seasoned career military man and sometimes it’s easy to see military people as calloused by what they’ve seen, but Dallas is quite to the contrary — very caring and alert to opportunities to do good.

He had a young family camping at their campground, and one of the children was quite ill.  He took it on himself to call me, wondering whether it was possible to arrange a visit from one of the Forest Service Interns — as Smokey Bear.  I wasn’t sure about the ‘whether’ but I was certainly sure that we could move mountains trying to accomplish this for a young camper who most likely wouldn’t see his next birthday.

I made a call, then another three calls.  I found the right person — the coordinator of the summer interns — the Junior Rangers on our forest at the moment.  Not long after one of the interns called me back, asked the specifics of the request and assured me they would get out there as soon as possible.

I wasn’t able to be there, but I heard later that the young lad was blown away by his visit from Smokey Bear.

Well, the young boy’s battle with illness got the best of him, and his parents sent a lovely card in appreciation of Dallas’ having gone over and above his ‘job’ — and having cared about their young son.  (if ou want to read the card,  here is a PDF containing the card) Make a Difference (horizontal).

It’s a sad story of illness taking a young soul long before his time; but it’s also a reminder that we never know which of our actions will bring extraordinary results. We may beat our head against the wall for a thousand days — but if we can help someone like this young boy and his family then all the headaches are worth it and more.  Sometimes we can make a difference even in the most mundane of jobs.

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8 Comments

    1. Thanks. I thought it was worth while passing on because too often the times we DO make a difference we know nothing about the change we helped effect, and rare times like this when you get feedback make you realize that just maybe volunteering makes more of a difference than just getting a free camping site. 🙂

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      Liked by 1 person

  1. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    This story still gets a happy ending because the little boy was happy. I volunteer 1 hour a week at a nursing home to help them play Bingo. Most are appreciative, but a few get downright mean. I’ve donated prizes as well. One hour might not seem like much, but it makes a huge difference to the residents.

    Liked by 1 person

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