Story and Photo by Pam Fernald
On Sept. 12, during a Recognition Luncheon hosted by the Marines at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, SeaTac citizen Doris Spence was honored for her dedicated volunteer service to the USO where she has racked up an amazing 12,348 hours of service!
That is equal to 6 years’ worth of time with no days off.
Doris began volunteering with the USO in 1991 after her husband passed away. Doris says her time with the USO “has been very rewarding and did as much for me as the other way around. It’s been a good experience so that’s why I continued for so long.”
Over the years Doris has been responsible for bringing new volunteers on board and training them as well as doing less glamorous things like laundering all of the bedding and towels and linens for the USO facility.
Shopping for, and preparing food for the hungry military travelers was another big job, as you might imagine. Doris says that “our tuna sandwiches are known all over the world” and are one of the most requested food items.
The truly heartwarming things about her USO work involved the time she spent with the military members, talking and sharing stories at the table while they ate. Doris remembers one night that really brought tears to her eyes. She had noticed a family member standing alone, like she was waiting for someone. Doris asked her if she could help her and the woman replied that she had come to pick up her son. Doris asked where her son was serving and the mom held up a duffel bag she was carrying and said, “He’s here…”
You will also find Doris volunteering during the week as Receptionist at the front desk of the SeaTac Senior Center.
One of my personal favorite sayings about volunteerism is:
“Volunteers are not paid because they are worthless; they are not paid because they are priceless.”
No volunteer I know would take money if it was offered anyway–they do what they do for the love of it. Where would we be without our volunteers?
Thank you for your service, Doris.
More info on the USO is available here: http://www.usopsa.org/index.php?content=seatac