Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Different Volunteer

There are so many people in Our Life who volunteer their time and talents for our family.


Not just here and there, or once in a blue moon.


I try so hard to pay it forward by using my time and talents.

Recently there were two tragic deaths in two completely separate places involving two completely different people, but were both people I have known.

One was a Police Officer that I knew for a short time when we lived in my mom's house 2 years ago while waiting to get our current home. We attended their ward house for church and this sweet man, Brother Cory Wride, was our Sunday School Teacher.

It was tragic and horrifically violent news and really rocked the lives of many in the area. My parents and my siblings who had grown up in the ward knowing him were distraught.

When I heard about it, I thought of what I could do to serve or help their grieving process some how. I am so thankful that my mom and my brother were able to do something for Cory's wife by sharing their musical talent. My brother Aaron wrote a beautiful piano piece called "Past" for her and his family and my mom wrote a song called "My Knight in Shining Armor." My mom hasn't recorded hers yet, but Aaron put his on YouTube:

The reason I wasn't able to help them is because later that evening the second tragedy occurred... a young man in my neighborhood was fatally wounded. This young man and Officer Cory Wride were in the Emergency Room at the same time (and their funerals were on the same day). They were both too young, but the young man in our ward and neighborhood was only a boy.

He was a friend of many.

He was a friend of Brother's.

I knew I wanted to help in some way.

Brother was distraught when he heard the news of his ward buddy and, I think, also shared in the sorrow of the rest of his other ward buddies. Brother spent most of the following day at school crying about the loss of his friend. We tried to explain to him what had happened but Brother continued to tell me, "No, Mom. [He] is still here! See, he's in my yearbook."

At first I thought that he didn't understand that his friend had passed.

But, then I realized that Brother has had quite a few of his friends pass on, as he has always been in a special needs classroom and not all special needs come with a normal life-span.

I think he still felt his presence in his heart.

The opportunity came that I was able to photograph some special moments for his family at the viewing and funeral.

Brother didn't attend his viewing or his funeral in person. Brother watched as I edited the photos from the events and would tell me things as we went through the pictures. It was so special to see him healing in his own way by seeing the pictures and feeling like he was a part of it all even though his anxiety and fear kept him from attending with the rest of his friends.

I never did share this picture from Brother's 14th birthday last year... now seems like a good time to show a group of friends together. I think it is good to laugh at a time like this... so, yes, that is Brother hiding under the blanket...

I've never volunteered to take photos at a funeral... well, other than for my grandma... but I did that for me. This was for some one else completely.

It was a different way for me to volunteer.


On a lighter note I was also able to volunteer that same week to work at the LDS Film Festival. It was a nice way for me to not wallow in sorrow and grief for a time. I even got to meet two guys that I saw on one of my favorite reality shows "The Sing-Off." From a few years back, but they are locals and it just makes it more fun to cheer for the ones who are close to home.

These are two of the original Vocal Point group from the show

I even got to see one of my posters that I did the design for hanging up for the big night! That was fun! I don't always get to see my work completed.

Storm Rider, that was fun poster to do, oh, and that blue thing over my shoulder... that is my spiffy "volunteer vest" (smile)
All in all though, I was a fish in a new pond. I realized that many of the people who volunteer for this have done it for years or are or have been one of the actors for one of the many filmmakers there.

I was the different volunteer. The one that no one knew.

I had kind of wondered at first why I thought this would be any fun. Just because I have designed for many LDS filmmakers doesn't mean that I would have fun being in their world for a few days...

It turned out to be fun. Different, but fun and I think I made some new friends and if I volunteer next year I can mentor the new "different volunteer."

I even got to see some movies during my off times. It actually made for some pretty decent "me" time after a rough week.

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