In our family, community volunteerism is generational. From my early childhood days to adulthood, I don’t remember a time when my family was not involved in community volunteering in some capacity, whether it was with church, scouts, school, medical or government. I think all forms of community organizations were represented.
My mother, Dr. Lanny Hampel, was my mentor in setting the pathway for the family generations to follow in her footsteps.
One of her granddaughters, Mia Wainwright, along with my other children and grandchildren, has been born into this generation of volunteers. Mia, who is shown with me in the photograph at right, volunteers at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and other marine centers on the East Coast with her college experience. She serves her church in youth ministry and is a youth volunteer leader.
Volunteering came naturally. Serving the community was a foundation of our origin and not something that I saw as something negotiable. So I would say that I was born into it. I saw it as a welcome obligation and thought that everyone thought the same way. I always volunteered with my parents. Whether I realized it or not, it was a natural thing to do.
As an adult, I realized what I did for no pay was volunteering.
After finding myself in situations as a first responder, I served on the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad and Sandbridge Rescue Squad as lieutenant. Life can lead one into an area where passion and talents are unleashed.
Serving on rescue had me in situations where patients and families were in crisis and, for many, at the end of life.
I was led into hospice where I, for many years, served patients and families in need at the end of life. I was also active in my church and served in many areas. This led to my serving as a Virginia Beach Police Department chaplain in the Second Precinct. The common denominator is serving people with needs.
We are not in this life alone. No one person is better than another, and we need to be community.
My mother was one of the early leaders and founders of the Virginia Beach Mayor’s Commission on Aging. I now serve as vice chairperson on this appointed commission, which serves the senior community of Virginia Beach and is an advisory commission to see that the needs of the seniors are addressed and met as time progresses and dictates the need for change.
I am also on the board of Project Lifesaver, an organization that helps keep our loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and autism safe and sound. There are other organizations I serve, but I write this to encourage others to follow a passion or try something that may lead one into areas once thought unimaginable.
There are many ways to get involved. The Virginia Beach volunteer office is a great place to start. There are many options there and great people to help guide a potential volunteer into a place where they are needed. Finding a passion, a common ground, a cause or a medical organization are ways to start. If you are reading this, it is because you are ready to enter into this world of volunteerism. I receive so much more than I give.
Visit vbgov.com/volunteer, call (757) 385-4722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved or to learn more about volunteering opportunities with the city.
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