Rarely do we meet volunteers who are eligible for the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest level of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. That’s because it requires 4,000 hours of voluntary service to qualify. It takes a remarkably dedicated individual to commit that amount of time over many years.
In 2022, we met not just one, but two qualified candidates that we were able to grant the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award to. Richard is a retired Aircraft Technician who served thirty-eight years in the U.S. Air Force. During those years, he and his wife Cheryl each volunteered in a variety of ways. Both Cheryl and Richard started volunteering when they were in high school. Cheryl taught Sunday School and Richard volunteered with the local Ambulance Corps. This year, they will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary.
While Richard was on Active Duty out of Dover Air Force Base and Cheryl was maintaining the homefront, raising their two sons and working as manager for the State of Delaware for 20 of those years, they each still found opportunities to volunteer by coaching their kids teams; Richard in baseball and Cheryl in bowling. However, since retiring from their respective careers, Richard and Cheryl have found particular gratification helping to build new homes with Habitat For Humanity. The work includes framing, installing siding, windows, hurricane straps and working in the Habitat ‘Restores’, home improvement stores and donation centers where new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, housewares, building materials and more are sold to those in need at a fraction of their retail price. Richard is also a Certified Safety Trainer for Habitat For Humanity’s affiliate staff.
Cheryl and Richard have demonstrated a tireless commitment to helping others and will do whatever they can to help causes that they believe in. They lead an active life in retirement, but have continued to serve in their travels, volunteering as Camp Hosts at state campgrounds in Maryland and Delaware in addition to their ongoing work with Habitat for Humanity. Remarkably, they have now volunteered in nine states including; CA, DE, FL, IL, LA, MA, NY, NJ, PA. We won’t be surprised if they add a few more.
The time and effort that these two exceptional volunteers have dedicated for decades, despite their own family and professional commitments, is an inspiration. They serve as shining examples of what volunteers can accomplish and how important they are in any civilized society. We are proud to have had the opportunity to recognize their volunteer service and have no doubt that they will continue to share their compassion and skills in the years to come.