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“I Am Third”, Why I Volunteer with Family Promise

While enjoying summer at the YMCA’s Camp Y-Noah as a ten-year-old, evening devotions included the story of “I Am Third”. I Am Third is the memoir of Gale Sayers, one of the best running backs in the history of the NCAA and pro football. Sayers's credo is, ‘The Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third.’"

From that moment on, I realized that it is important to serve others. In high school, I hung with the crowd that always participated in events like “Hike for Hunger”and other service projects. Those experiences made me feel that helping others less fortunate is a normal thing a person should do.

In 2004, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church's former pastor and I attended some planning meetings for what would become Family Promise of Summit County, with about 15 others at Fairlawn West UCC, led by Pastor David Loar. Looking back to those days, it was a great opportunity to participate in the planning of the local Family Promise chapter, then called Interfaith Hospitality Network, then seeing it all come together so well, and being able to help so many families over the years.

Planning for our church's very first hosting in 2004 was the only time I felt nervous and afraid, not knowing what to expect. Since then, Holy Trinity Lutheran has hosted guests in our church building 73 times. Each time I feel confident as the coordinator, believing when we are doing God's work, he is watching over us and blessing us. It is a pleasure to serve others, and I have had the privilege to be only the orchestra leader, recruiting and directing the real“doers”: all of the hosts, drivers, launderers, shoppers, and cooks who serve the families in our network.

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