John wasn’t sure what to expect when he went to his first Foresters volunteer activity in the summer of 2014. He was even a bit nervous.
The 68-year-old grandfather of five knew he was a capable guy. He was finishing a career as a software engineer for jet engines. He felt like he’d been blessed in his life. So when he got that familiar Foresters email highlighting the member benefits available to him, including volunteer opportunities, he knew it was his chance to give back. He signed up to put together backpacks with school supplies for children in need at Crayons to Computers, in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.
“It made me feel part of a new community. It was wonderful, it really was.”
Still, he wondered if he’d do a good job. Would they ask him to lift something he couldn’t?
His concerns disappeared once he arrived onsite. “It wasn’t hard work. It was just a lot of fun,” says John, retired since last fall and a Foresters member since 2008. “It made me feel part of a new community. It was wonderful, it really was.”
Since then, he has taken his wife and grandkids to other events, including building an outdoor classroom, serving meals at Ronald McDonald House and even a fun Foresters outing to Coney Island. Less than a year after that first volunteer experience, the guy who’d never seen himself as an organizer was learning from a local Foresters employee how to order toothpaste and other hygiene supplies for his own event, assembling care kits for homeless veterans. John received a Foresters Community Grant to do it.
“There are a million insurance companies out there but Foresters is very special because they do so much for the community,” he says.