When I first had the idea to talk to people who volunteer and are active in their community, I thought of my friends, Buddy and Marsha Inlow. Buddy and Marsha, (Busha? Mardy? an adorable couple needs a suitable name,) go to my church, NorthStar Church in Kennesaw GA. Back when we still passed out church bulletins, there was a group of us that met Thursday mornings to put them together. It never felt like work but always was like coming home to hang out with family. We may have disbanded several years ago, but I will forever smile at those times laughing and catching up with the "stuffers."
Buddy and Marsha are who I want to be when I grow up. They have retired from their paid jobs, but they maintain a busy life (pre-Covid) by volunteering, helping with their grandkids, and traveling. You rarely see one without the other. They are in a phase of life where they can pick their schedule (not early mornings.) They are amazing and helpful friends to everyone they know.
Marsha said she and Buddy have volunteered in several ways for many years. They helped with the Joy Foundation by shopping with underprivileged kids for their parents' Christmas gifts. They have been very involved with many veteran organizations, as Buddy is a Navy veteran. (Thank you for your service!) Their volunteering at our church began eight years ago. Marsha told me there are several volunteer opportunities over the years that have meant a lot.
The local American Legion Post hosted a fundraiser to help provide service dogs to veterans with PTSD. Most people are surprised to learn it costs approximately $8,000 to train a dog for a veteran and takes the trainer about 1-2 years. Witnessing the impact that these service dogs make in the life of their veteran is truly amazing and heartwarming.
Another event that touched Buddy and Marsha's hearts was when MUST Ministries, a local homeless shelter, had a Christmas event for families in need. Seeing the gratitude and excitement from both the parents and kids really made them appreciate all that they are blessed with.
Buddy and Marsha love greeting at our church on Sunday mornings. They are fantastic with guests and answer questions with a smile. 2020 was very different, and I know they have been greatly missed as greeters.
While they may not be able to volunteer at the moment, Buddy and Marsha certainly still give. In their own words, "we feel God has led us to make contributions and gifting to our church, various charities and families in our community even more this year. We are incredibly blessed and thankful that we were able to help in any way. The giving we do probably doesn't change anyone's life in a big way, but we hope it lets them feel loved and helps in even a small way. The volunteering and giving certainly lifts our spirits and helps us be even more grateful for all the blessings we have. It just makes us feel good!"
There you have it. If reading about Buddy and Marsha doesn't put a big smile on your face, I don't know what will. They are the epitome of living a life with others in mind.
I hope you enjoyed reading about a couple who volunteer together and that you are inspired to find organizations you are passionate about to serve with. Please remember that you will never know how many lives you are able to affect. Even when what you do doesn't feel like much, it could be everything to one person. I hope you let go of any excuses of why you can't and just reach out to help. If you have a story (or stories) of when volunteering or giving really touched your heart, I would love to share it here. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.