What motivated you to start volunteering at NAMI MC?
My brother, David, lived with schizophrenia from age 18 until his premature death at age 60 in 2015. My family was greatly impacted by his illness. My parents were my brother’s caregivers until they passed away and I took over for the last ten years of my brother’s life. My dad was active in the Central Pennsylvania NAMI chapter. I have personally invested in schizophrenia research. Volunteering is my way of continuing to give back to families impacted by these difficult diseases.
How long have you volunteered with NAMI MC?
I have been a volunteer for NAMI MC since May of 2018. I also have done volunteer work for the NAMI National Office in Virginia.
What’s your favorite part about volunteering with NAMI MC?
It’s all about giving back for me. I very much enjoy the staff. I can see everyone is dedicated to what I feel is an underappreciated (in terms of diseases) cause.
How has volunteering at NAMI MC impacted your life?
Since I am now retired, it is one of many volunteer interests that I pursue. However, it is perhaps the most important volunteer work I do because it helps the office accomplish its goals, and honors my family’s sacrifice in dealing with my brother’s illness.
Do you have any advice or insight for those interested in volunteering with NAMI MC?
I think if you volunteer for any cause, you can best contribute to an organization by having them utilize the skills you have acquired throughout your working life. If there’s a specific NAMI program you’re interested in, volunteer for a specific role that interests you and matches your skill set.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
When I was young and fresh out of journalism school, my dream was to work in the public relations office for the New York Mets baseball team. There was a lot of competition so it was quite an accomplishment when I obtained an interview. Although I wasn’t chosen for the position, I had the thrill of sitting in the press box next to all the famous New York sportswriters of the day. I also got to meet Hall-Of-Famer Ralph Kiner when he came out of the broadcast booth to question a call by the official scorer. On a groundball to the third baseman, the scorer determined it was a hit, when it was clearly an error. The official scorer was asleep (literally)!
When you’re not volunteering, what do you like to do for fun?
I still retain my love of baseball. My wife and I like to hike with our new dog, Rosie, and travel to the western United States.