by Les Condit, DTM
Service is not something that came naturally to me. When I was young, “my life” seemed to be what was most important. I was in Boy Scouts and I liked getting badges and positive feedback from my parents, but as I worked toward my Eagle Scout Award more of my time was spent doing service projects. We cleared trails and build check dams to prevent erosion. We did things to help out the Church that sponsored us and we did other things in the community like cleaning the trash off of miles of roadways. I did some of the services for the comradery and for the appreciation that people showed, but deep inside I developed pride for having left something that would help others in the future.
I also loved to swim, so I volunteered with the Red Cross to help teach swimming lessons for 4 years. I was attached to this each year because I loved the look in each one of the kid’s eyes when they finally got it. They learned how to float or to swim a new stroke, or in some cases, they were just able to get in the water and forget how afraid they had been.
I am proud that I spent 14 years in the United States Navy serving our country. Even though most of the things that I did won’t ever be known or seen by others, there are things that I left behind like when Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston, S.C. and we went out into some of the worst-hit parts of the community to help with clean up and to help distribute food and water. I will never forget the mixture of feelings that I had when people, who had lost virtually everything, were so thankful for our help. I felt proud of what we were doing but heartbroken for not being able to do more.
I want to be useful and helpful all of my life and the future may not allow me to do the same things that my youth allowed me to, but that is why I am glad that I found Toastmasters. I believe that what we do every day serves and helps others. I may never be the best at service, and I may not touch as many lives as some others, but I can touch someone. I can help someone. Each person that has been helped by my efforts is a treasure that warms my heart.
Service may not be my nature, but I am glad that I learned to go against my nature.