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Volunteering: Making it your own

Volunteering: Making it your own

Staff Sgt. Sung G. Kim, far right, 2nd Comptroller Squadron financial analysis supervisor, poses for a photo with members from a volunteer team at a local food bank in Shreveport, La. Kim brought the team together to pack boxes of food for the food bank. (Courtesy photo)

Volunteering: Making it your own

Senior Airman Jana Bushey, 2nd Bomb Wing legal office civil law paralegal, poses for a photo with a foster dog. Bushey fosters special needs dogs in Louisiana and Texas. (Courtesy photo)

Volunteering: Making it your own

Staff Sgt. Sung G. Kim, 2nd Comptroller Squadron financial analysis supervisor, poses for a photo with members from a local rescue mission in Shreveport, La. Kim organized a food drive for the rescue mission and delivered food used to prepare meals for a Thanksgiving event. (Courtesy photo)

Volunteering: Making it your own

Senior Airman Jana Bushey, 2nd Bomb Wing legal office civil law paralegal, poses for a photo with a foster dog at the local animal control office in Bossier City, La. Bushey fosters special needs dogs in Louisiana and Texas. (Courtesy photo)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

A drunken tragedy is possibly averted because a safe ride home is only a phone call away, a neglected dog is given a second chance in a new home and a struggling family won't have to go to bed hungry tonight; but what do these moments all have in common?

The commonality between them is that some Airmen stepped up to transform a harrowing story into one of hope through volunteering. However, assisting others is not the only element that can come out of volunteering.

"It makes me happy to see other people happy," said Staff Sgt. Sung G. Kim, 2nd Comptroller Squadron financial analysis supervisor. “I feel like there are more people in need and I want everybody to be happy. It's not an easy goal, but I can start with the people around me first."

Kim was recently awarded an Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for his time assisting the local food bank, animal shelter and rescue mission.

Senior Airman Jana Bushey, 2nd Bomb Wing legal office civil law paralegal, volunteers to make a difference as well, but also to integrate into the local community. Her involvement with local animal shelters, Airmen Against Drunk Driving and other on and off base organizations led to her being named the 2nd BW's 2019 volunteer of the year.

"To me, it's part of grabbing foot wherever you are and making it your home," Bushey said. "I think you should be caring about every place that you go to just like it's your home. Just like you would make your home better, you would go make the community better."

A part of that includes networking and developing relationships within the local area. Involvement in the local area and organizations allows members to gain support outside the military, Bushey said.

"Wherever you go, there's a tight-knit community. You just have to find your way in and make yourself a part of it," Bushey explained.

Both Kim and Bushey immerse themselves heavily into volunteering because of their fervor for the causes they are supporting.

"One of the most important things is to find something that you are passionate about, something that you find it hard to say ‘no’ too," Bushey said. "Not something that you dread or something someone else has to talk you into. I honestly believe that everyone has something they are passionate about. You may not know it yet, but there are ways to connect and find it."

An important aspect to keep in mind is overdoing it. Being aware of personal limits and when a break is needed allows people to be better volunteers, Kim said.

"When you don't take care of yourself, you can't help others smile because you don't have the room in your mind to help others," Kim explained. "Taking care of yourself first is the priority."

Another way to look at the act is to remember that volunteering is something that individuals plan into their life.

"Most of everything that I volunteer for, I can see how it fits into my schedule," Bushey said. "There are times you can't fit it into your schedule, but you can decide what you want to be involved with. Just like the saying 'when you do something you love, you never work a day in your life.'"

So whatever the reason may be to volunteer, Kim and Bushey are examples of how it can not only benefit others, but also the volunteer themselves. With elements like passion and intentional scheduling, there is no telling what all volunteering can impact.

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