Imagine that a NCCC team has helped your community during a natural disaster. You then join NCCC and, within the first two weeks of NCCC training, you meet and serve alongside the President of the United States.
I have eagerly anticipated the day I could serve as a Member in the AmeriCorps NCCC. I feel a deep debt of gratitude to NCCC for helping my fire department find the strength and capability to complete the daunting task of creating a fire buffer around Crown King, Arizona in 2007.
On Monday January 16, the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, I found myself standing behind President Obama wearing an NCCC uniform. Only a week and a half into NCCC training, and I’ve already raised the bar for the proudest day of my life!
Monday morning was a whirlwind of waiting, being moved around, being shuffled in and out of crowds and going through security checkpoints. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I found myself standing in front of a crowd of volunteers with fellow NCCC Members Casey and Toby.
We stood along a wall while speakers took turns addressing the crowd. I had been told that the President was going to speak, and I knew that a photo opportunity was planned, but nothing could have prepared me for the moment he stepped into the room with his family and shook our hands one by one. He then stood ten feet directly in front of me and delivered a speech that I will never forget.
“There isn’t anyone who can’t serve … nobody who can’t help somebody else,” said President Obama.
Those words will follow me for as long as I live.
There is a phrase that I have heard repeatedly from several facilitators during the NCCC training. The facilitators keep saying, “I can’t do what you (NCCC Members) do.”
It is my new ambition to spend my life helping people find that strength just like NCCC helped me find it in the Bradshaw Mountains of Arizona. I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond. Each of us is engaged in a struggle for life. All of us are strong. Everyone has the capacity not only to serve, but to lead.
You too can serve and lead. NCCC is currently accepting Team Leader applications until March 1, 2012 for the fall 2012. Consider applying as a Team Leader. For more information about applying for a Team Leader position go here