This is Why I Volunteer:

Judy and I spent the month of July at Fort Yamhill State Heritage Site. When we first volunteered with the Oregon State Parks in 2013, Matt Heureter, park ranger, offered us a position. Immediately upon arrival Matt offered us the opportunity to take “Core Training” at Canby Oregon. With this training I really got pumped on the interpreting side of volunteering. With my background in band through grade school, high school and Coast Guard training, I got excited about the possibility of learning the Civil War bugle calls and incorporating them in my interpretation.
Well, long-story-short; I bought a bugle and I have used it at three different venues in the past four years. July 2016 started out with the “Fourth of July” celebrations and I dusted off my “Honor the Flag” presentation and offered the opportunity for several visitors that weekend to raise and lower the Fort Yamhill Flag. Because we are a heritage site we are flying a rather large 34 star “Period” flag from the time of the American Civil War. I have seen crusty old former “first sergeants” get choked up over handling the flag of our ancestors. It’s a neat feeling being part of their experience.
On July 30, 2013, I was rocked back on my heels. A Vietnam Veteran, about my age, battered hat and full facial hair, approached me as I was sweeping the parking lot and started to explain that I had done the “Honor the Flag” with him over the July 4th weekend. He went on to explain that it really hit home with him and his son, indicating the man standing beside him. He wanted to thank me and started to offer his hand. I caught a glimmer of metal in his palm as our hands met. Our hands rotated and a coin dropped into my palm.
I looked into his eyes and could see he was a little misty eyed. He started to explain that he had just “Coined” me because the flag ceremony had touched him so deeply. He continued to explain the honor he had just bestowed on me as we stood together examining the two inch diameter coin.
As I reflect on the events of our tour of duty at Fort Yamhill in July of 2016, I get a little choked up myself when I realize that: ‚ÄĚThis is why I volunteer.”

Leave a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.