Volunteer Testimonial November 2018

Finding the Desire to Volunteer

"They arrived at a church where they would stay. You could see the water lines on the walls nearly 20 feet up. When the levees broke, it flooded most of the area where the students were helping. It was at that moment the young man realized a deep feeling inside- desire."

-an excerpt of "Finding the Desire to Volunteer" by Chad Chappell, Mobile Baykeeper Membership & Volunteer Coordinator

(Photo: Paul Singer, USA Today)

I want to share a story of a young man completely lost in the world desiring, hoping, and wishing for a place to belong. He moved to a coastal beach community for his first experience out of the comfort of his family’s home. He was always able to make friends and aimed to please.

It was 2005, and Hurricane Katrina had just swept through the Gulf Coast and wreaked havoc on Mississippi and Louisiana. The destruction and mayhem Katrina caused in New Orleans made headlines and shook a nation. The school’s president had many connections in the Big Easy, and his immediate reaction was, “we need to help”.

A handful of students packed a bag and headed towards the aftermath, the young man included. The visual of the homes demolished, giant x’s on doors, no electricity, and the silence that echoed through the streets of New Orleans was eerie. Nola had a cadence and a rhythm made by the people, the music, and the culture. These elements were gone!

They arrived at a church where they’d be staying. You could see the water line on the walls 20 feet up. When the levees broke, it flooded most of the area where the students were helping. It was then the realization the young man had of a feeling growing inside – desire. The next couple of days consisted of cooking meals on big propane burners, handing out dry and canned goods, giving attention and care to the residents that couldn’t leave and lost everything. The long days exhausted him but invigorated at the same time. What was this other feeling making its way into his soul. Lying on a cot in the middle of a gutted room, he looked up at the ceiling, smiled and knew.

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything,” quoted by Napoleon Hill. It happens to all of us. We desire a LOT in our lives, and very rarely are we satisfied. The young man’s story is that of my own. I found a huge desire to help others and make a difference by giving of my time and efforts. This was the birth place of my complete and utter infatuation for volunteering.

Mobile Baykeeper has many opportunities to make a difference such as this.

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