COVID–19 volunteer doesn’t miss a beat
Treating everyone like their a somebody
A Salvationist of 30 years and an all around go–to guy, Gordon Heller began volunteering at the East Stroudsburg, Pa., Corps more than 20 years ago.
Over the years, Gordon has been involved in bell–ringing, Emergency Disaster Services, landscaping, recycling, and driving. He’s just happy to do whatever is needed.
“My wife Mary Ellen was raised in The Salvation Army and wanted to make sure our children, Rachel and Gordon, were raised in the church as well,” Gordon said. “It meant a lot to both of us to be a part of something so special.”
Gordon was at his best during kettle season. For 15 years, while working full-time, Gordon would leave his job and walk 5 miles, in all kinds of weather, just to do the 5:00 p.m. kettle pick–ups and drop–offs.
“I couldn’t do my job without him,” says Jason Lesh, the events and development coordinator. “Coordinating our Christmas campaign each year is a monstrous job. The logistics of determining what bell–ringer is where and when is only made easier because of Gordon’s willingness to drop–off and pick–up our ringers three times per day. Gordon makes all the difference.”
Since retiring three years ago, Gordon has become a full–time food pantry volunteer and kettle driver. Even during the COVID–19 pandemic, he has not missed a beat. Without fail, Gordon shows up faithfully to do the work that needs to be done.
“The people I see who come in for help getting food have a big smile on their faces. Knowing we helped them feed their families is everything to me,” Gordon says. “I do what is needed because I like helping.”
Jill Brink, food pantry and volunteer director, has much to say about Gordon’s work ethic and his huge heart.
“Our pantry wouldn’t be what it is without him,” she says. “Gordon steps up and faces each day with a can–do attitude. He helps everyone with everything because he has such a big heart. During this pandemic, he never once said he couldn’t volunteer. He just shows up with his gloves and mask and asks, ‘Ok, what do we need to do today?’”
When asked what motivates him, Gordon put his head down and said, “It’s hard to put into words. People here just treat you like you’re somebody.”
by Cari Friend