Interviewed by Maria Gurovich for The Island Connection
Editor’s Note: The Volunteer Spotlight is a new column in The Island Connection highlighting members of the community who give their time to help others. If you know of a volunteer who deserves the spotlight email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My mother was born in Vilnius, Poland (now Lithuania), and came through Ellis Island when she was just eight years old. My father was from Connecticut, he had six brothers and two sisters. He was a Marine and fought in a historic battle in Iwo Jima during World War II. After the war, he became an insurance salesman. My mother was a homemaker who cared for their three children.
After serving in Vietnam in 1969, I worked for a small appliance company as a sales representative for fifteen years, and later I became a national sales manager for a small company that manufactured giftware. I later got involved with Merrill Lynch and worked there as a stockbroker until I retired.
I moved to South Carolina in October of 2012. I have two sons; the youngest is a school psychologist at an elementary school and the oldest is a server at the “Jasmine Porch” restaurant on Kiawah Island.
I talked about getting involved with a charity for years. Once I moved down the street from Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, I finally stopped by and decided to get involved.
I think that when you volunteer it is crucial to be caring and understanding and you need to make people feel important. Always accept them for what they are, and do not judge them. I believe in aiding people help themselves. Whether it is through education or other services, helping someone is giving him or her a hand up. I believe that nobody should ever be hungry in this country, especially children. Even though it is not their fault, we continue to cut food stamps. It really concerns me that we hurt the most venerable members of our society.
I volunteer because I’m convinced that when you help people you are a much happier person. I do not spend as much time worrying about myself. I have always wanted to help and volunteering at Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach is my outlet. It is the place where I have found my own little way of helping out. I read a lot about eastern philosophies. They say helping other people makes your life better; compassion seems to be the key to happiness. I believe in selfish altruism, I call myself a selfish helper. To someone who is thinking about volunteering I would say: “Do you want to be happier? Help other people!”
Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach serves James Island, Johns Island, Wadmalaw Island and The Neighborhood House of Charleston. For more information on how to get involved call 843.559.4109 or email email@example.com.Tweet