All of the volunteers who walk through the doors of an Egan Warming Centers emergency shelter arrive there for different reasons and from a wide variety of backgrounds.
David Strahan’s journey as a volunteer with Egan began 11 years ago, and through that time he’s participated in more activations than he can count. He says the preparation and other challenges surrounding an activation can be difficult, but the rewarding feeling comes when it’s time to support guests.
“You hope that your input, or your sandwich, or your conversation with that guest is what triggers them to doing better for themself the next day,” says David.
His advice to those who are on the fence about volunteering for Egan is to just try it.
“It is so emotionally rewarding. It’s emotionally painful. Don’t get me wrong, you’re going to try your emotions … experiencing that one time usually hooks most people. It is so rewarding.”
As David recalls, his journey with Egan began when he first saw a TV spot for a warming center in Springfield. He was working on volunteer river cleanup efforts in the area at the time. Not long after, while cleaning up along a riverbank, he encountered a dazed man sitting on a log. David stopped to extend an offer of food and a blanket, but none of his words seemed to get through. Eventually, reluctantly, David left the man there that day. He returned to the river the next morning and sadly learned that the man had died, slumped over where he sat.
Though David had just begun volunteering with Egan Warming Centers, this was his first experience with trying to save someone and having it fail. Through the years since, he says serving Egan has allowed him to better equip newer volunteers with essential skills, resources and lessons learned.
“This is how we save lives here, by training those volunteers. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I did and have those regrets,” David reflects. “We’re hard enough on ourselves.”
If you want to volunteer for Egan Warming Centers, you can sign up here: bit.ly/EganVolunteerRegistration
Watch David’s story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3GUk0gnhI8