My Turn: A selfish reason for community service
By Greg Alcorn
“Don’t let anyone put a dark cloud in your blue sky,” said Jim Sawyer. That principle was shared at Wayne Dalton’s funeral service recently. What great words of wisdom by Jim during the celebration of Wayne’s life.
Had I not gone to Wayne’s funeral, I likely would have never heard this guidance. And it got better. Rev. Dr. C.L. Phelps gave the eulogy about Wayne’s untroubled heart. Wayne fought cancer for 15 years, always, unbelievably, with a smile on his face. The message urged us to “don’t sweep around other people’s door. Sweep around your own door.” Good advice. I’ll practice.
If you know me, you know I enjoy community service, volunteer activities and serving on non-profit boards. Maybe you could say I have my MCS degree. My mother taught me the value and importance of community service. She definitely earned her MCS – Masters in Community Service.
Here’s what I realized recently — a good non-profit provides added-value back to the volunteers. Great service should be a two-way street. Volunteers provide time and in return receive new relationships and wisdom from that commitment. Jim and Wayne were Boy Scout leaders while my son was entering Cub Scouts on his way to earning his Eagle. We became great friends and I consider them both mentors.
Oftentimes, I reflect on this sentence — “I would have never _______, if I had not ________”. I would have never joined Young Presidents’ Organization had I not met Dyke Messenger,” another speaker at Wayne’s funeral. I would have never started Appleseed Early Childhood Education, had I not served on the NC State Board of Education. I would have never learned so many life principles without meeting Wayne and Jim.
I might have never gotten my big break in business had I not student- managed the Catawba College Coffeehouse and met Mike Prillaman. From these and other volunteer experiences, I received lifetime value from just hours of involvement.
We encourage community service for all our employees. Our conference room is open for non-profit meetings at almost any time. You never know, maybe someone’s life is enriched from a couple of community hours here.
Speaking of business, community involvement has shaped our business culture and process. Rowan-Salisbury Schools introduced us to Remind 101 texting program. That program improved our Appleseed parent outreach program exponentially. Our meeting agendas have been influenced by church council model. Offering time for reflection and sharing appreciation are two ways to stay grounded in a fast pace world.
At Wayne’s remembrance, Jim Sawyer also preached, “And don’t YOU be a dark cloud in somebody else’s blue sky.”. He said that was a lesson to himself and he was going to work on it. I’ve known Jim for over 10 years and have never heard a cross word from him. He’s a good influence on everybody.
I’m fortunate to be involved in Scouts. It helped shape my approach to life. My participation at Catawba, in Raleigh, with Families First, church, Rotary, First Tee and others has helped ME be a better person and leader. I need it. Still plenty to sweep around my own door. Thank you, Wayne Dalton, for your selfless life. I certainly benefited from it. So did many, many others.
Greg Alcorn lives in Salisbury.
My Turn submissions should be 500-700 words in length. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “My Turn” in the subject line. Include name, address, phone number and, if possible, a digital photo of the writer.