When I walked through the door of the Neighborhood Resource Center Tukwila International Boulevard this month, I was prepared to do a story that was fairly cut-and-dry: The center’s upcoming closure, and why it was happening.
But when I met Mike Fowler and Rob McKee, the two volunteers behind the counter that day, I realized I had another story on my hands.
While expressing regret about the center’s closure, both men made it clear they weren’t done with the whole volunteering thing, not by a long shot.
In fact, they give their hours for free at other venues besides the center: Fowler is a longtime Rainier Symphony volunteer, and McKee donates his time at Tahoma National Cemetery.
Fowler organizes his fellow volunteers on performance days, while McKee organizes the corteges (military processions) at the cemetery.
We live in a time when very little comes for free anymore, and that is a sad thing. So, as regards the two volunteers I was seated and facing, I asked them: What makes you do it?
Fowler was quick with an answer: “You always get more out of it than you put in.”
McKee echoed that sentiment, noting that volunteering keeps you social and involved.
“For one thing, it brings you into contact with your fellow volunteers,” he said.
For McKee, a longtime history buff who is interested in cemeteries, his Tahoma work satisfies those interests, as well as another.
“It’s an honor, a duty,” he said.
Fowler likes to encourage others to give volunteering a try – and as a hook, he notes that if you volunteer for the symphony, you get to hear the performance for free, too.
Not a bad deal, if you happen to like symphony music.
There are many opportunities for volunteering in Tukwila, and a good place to start looking for them is by going onto the city’s Web site at www.ci.tukwila.wa.us, and clicking on General Information, and then on Volunteer Information. There you can find a listing of upcoming activities, as well as the contact information for these events. Or you also can call Tracy Gallaway at 206-768-2822 to learn more about the City of Tukwila Volunteer Program.
In these era of cutbacks and loss, maybe it’s time to give.