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Volunteer Stories

Volunteering can lead to so much more...

Joey Hommel has learned where volunteering can take him!  This young leader of the MCC Multi-Media Industry Club recently registered to volunteer with the United Way Volunteer Center.  Kristina Coby, our Community Engagement Director, put him to work immediately by assisting on our 1090 TalkNews radio show on Monday mornings.  Joey sat in as a guest to discuss his club and how they can assist other nonprofits in the area.  After telling the listening audience how the club can assist by designing and creating posters, flyers, brochures, video spots, web pages, etc. Hommel thought he was off the hook. However, Kristina was about to ignite a flame inside him when she praised him for a job well done on the microphone.  “Kristina empowered my passion when she told me I was a natural on air,” says Hommel.  Weeks have gone by and Joey has become a regular at the iHeart radio station in Muskegon.  He’s learned the sound board, how to time on air discussion, and other tasks - time well spent that has grown into a talent to offer potential employers.  Joey was recently hired by a neighboring radio station as a host and to run their sound board on Saturday mornings.  Volunteering is not only a rewarding way to help your community, it's also a great way to gain experience that can lead to a brighter future! Good luck on your new gig Joey... we'll be listening!



Mercy Health Seaway Run / Lake Michigan Half Marathon

Volunteering is a rewarding experience.  Here's a letter from a grateful recipient of the volunteering spirit of the Muskegon community!

Dear Seaway volunteers,

My name is Aleta Gorter.  Some of you may know me as “the last one that finished”.  But, I finished.  And, it is all because of you guys.

I am originally from Muskegon, but have spent the majority of my life in Louisville, Kentucky.  This was my fifth half marathon that I have participated in.  I always register as a walker due to an impeding foot injury.  Usually, there are thousands of runners and walkers at the half marathons, so I felt quite embarrassed being one of only a few walkers at Seaway.  I kept thinking, “Man, I am holding everyone up.  Everyone could be at home doing other things right now.”  My motivation deteriorated quickly.  I was convinced the Finish Line had already been taken down.  Mentally, I felt very alone not having any fellow participants alongside me.

About halfway through, two volunteers in a golf cart guided me in.  I felt horrible for them as they crept along at 4 mph for 7 miles.  I am sure they wished they were somewhere else.  But, they never let on.  Every time I looked back, wanting to just hitch a ride, there they were, smiling and pointing me in the right direction.  

At each mile, I would come across the water stations.  The volunteers had stayed!  They cheered me on!  There were neighbors that sat on their front porches and relentlessly hollered words of encouragement.  Suddenly, I realized I wasn't alone.  I had never been alone.  I had the whole town of Muskegon rooting for me.  I wanted to cry.

As I made my way down the last two miles, a volunteer with her cowbell cheered and cheered.  You would have thought I was bringing the Olympic torch in!  Finally, I saw the Finish Line.  I wanted to drop to my knees and cry.  Yes, I was ecstatic to finish!  But, every volunteer had stayed.  NO ONE LEFT ME BEHIND.  All of a sudden, the crowd went nuts!  I am not sure who was more excited to see who!!  I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.  Muskegon made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

So, I want to thank everyone.  Everyone that volunteered, that stayed, that cheered me on, that gave me encouragement, that wanted me to finish even when I didn't think I had it in me.  Thank you to EMS who were right there at that last mile to make sure I didn't pass out (I almost did!).  Thank you the lady that held out my medal.  Thank you to the little boy that proudly gave me a bottled water.  Thank you to the volunteer that kept all of the popsicles, yogurt, and granola bars out for me!  Thank you to the deejay that turned up that music, announced my name, and made me feel like a million bucks.  

You are, simply, the best, Muskegon.  And, I love you so much.  God bless all of you....