Tag: Volunteering

A Return to “Normal” Life—or Not


As I try to return to a life that somewhat resembles “normal,” I’m finding I’m not so eager to take all the recovery steps after all. Like many people, I resent any more limitations on my freedom, yet I have been the obedient citizen and have gotten my three Pfizer shots (without any adverse reactions). My most recent decision has to do with returning to one of my most important commitments: hospice volunteer.

This past June I consulted with my internist about returning to volunteering. I had pretty much gotten my strength back, and I’d returned to my daily routines. But in June, the Delta virus was escalating, and he insisted I wait until the numbers came down. (He was so adamant that I didn’t even question him.)

Howard Husock interviews four remarkable leaders of nonprofit groups who were recently honored as part of Manhattan Institute’s Civil Society Awards and Civil Society Fellows Program.

Manhattan Institute and City Journal have long sought to support and encourage civil-society organizations and leaders who, with the help of volunteers and private philanthropy, do so much to help communities address serious social problems. In this edition of the 10 Blocks podcast, Husock speaks with:

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A couple of months ago I left the hospice where I’d been volunteering for about ten years. I won’t go into the reasons, but I decided to wait a period to see if I wanted to connect with a hospice where they serve a larger area closer to where I live, and where I would […]

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Those of you who are interested in advancing the cause of conservatism or in defeating Hillary Clinton may be wondering whether you can do anything to help with those goals right now, in our current disrupted political landscape. Donald Trump’s recent victory in New York threatens not only the prospects of anyone who is opposed […]

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Katrina Experiences, Part V: Guns Guns Everywhere and Heading Home


DSC028951[Editor’s Note: This is the fifth and final part in the author’s series describing his experiences volunteering on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago last week. Catch-up with the other parts hereherehere, and here].

Looking back, my experiences on the Gulf Coast affirmed many of my conservative beliefs. Things like personal responsibility, the value of the individual, and the effectiveness and efficiency of private organizations and volunteer groups compared to the federal government. FEMA has taken a lot of criticism — some of it is well deserved — but it’s not realistic to expect a huge bureaucracy with its layers of rules and accompanying paperwork to respond quickly to anything. In contrast, volunteer groups can specialize in specific area of disaster relief and work together to minimize overlap and increase efficiency. The Red Cross focuses on shelters and hot meals. ACTS World Relief can provide aid at the disaster site itself. Different church denominations concentrate on specific areas such as collecting supplies, distributing supplies, providing medical assistance, housing, etc. Moreover, volunteers come-in from all over the country. We literally had people from the Florida Keys all the way to Alaska.


Katrina Experiences, Part IV: An Angel Named Renee and the Chinese Tents


DSC01848[Editor’s Note: This is the fourth part in the author’s series describing his experiences volunteering on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago this week. Catch-up with the other parts here, here, and here].

In addition to the chaos of the relief station, we needed to get out into the community and help. The problem was time: no matter how hard we worked, there was only so much daylight and we were already pushing the envelope. That’s when God stepped in and sent an angel named Renee and her crew. They had come down from the Atlanta area and set up next to our lot in a camper. Her priority was bringing relief to people that couldn’t get to us. The reason I call her an angel is because that is exactly how so many of the people she helped — many of whom had lost everything — saw her. In short time, and with the help of her small crew, we developed a tremendous partnership.


Katrina Experiences, Part III: Journey to the Coast and From Kansas, With Love


[Editor’s Note: This is the third part in Concretevol’s series describing his experiences volunteering on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago this week. Catch-up with the other parts here and here].

To give volunteers a break from the blistering heat — and because they were dying to see something other than that parking lot — we started taking groups to the coast to see for themselves what a 20′ wall of water leaves behind. Now, I will try to tell you, or show you, as best I can. Though I’ve never seen a bomb-blasted landscape before in person, I’ve seen pictures and that was really the only way to describe the first quarter mile inland. There was very little left of the houses other than bare concrete slabs… maybe a mailbox, or a post here or there. There wasn’t much debris there, either: most of it sitting on top of other destroyed houses further inland. It was also very quiet, with only the occasional sound of a helicopter flying overhead or a motor grader clearing sand from Beach Boulevard. There was very little talking in the truck on these outings. Just shocked silence.


Notice how the telephone poles all slanted inland.

Katrina Experiences, Part II: Relief Station, Waveland MS


Yesterday, I wrote about my experiences ten years ago setting up a privately-funded relief station in Hattiesburg, Mississippi immediately after Hurricane Katrina had swept through. This installment continues the story — now a week and a half after the hurricane had made landfall — as my team and I headed down to the FEMA “endorsed” station in Waveland, Mississippi. By the time we left, it was supposedly the largest on the coast. I don’t know how accurate that was, but we were definitely the only one I knew of that accepted clothing.

Waveland and neighboring Bay St. Louis had been absolutely slammed by the hurricane, with a storm surge of more than 19 feet. The closer we got, the more apparent the devastation was.

See the gas pumps?

Katrina Experiences, Part I


Hurricane Katrina August 28 2005 NASA” by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the devastating hurricane Katrina that Bush/Cheney unleashed on the Mississippi and Louisiana coast — sorry, couldn’t resist! — and I’ve been thinking about the time I spent down there helping with the cleanup and, really, the basic survival of some of the victims that lost nearly everything.

What Are Your “Little Platoons” Up To?


volunteersExploring the differences between the various factions on the Right is one of our favorite pastimes on Ricochet.  Libertarians vs. SoCons.  Establishment vs. Tea Partiers.  Everyone vs. Mike Murphy!

But deep as these divisions go, all conservatives agree that society best organizes itself from the bottom-up and that the most interesting and important stuff happens at the bottom.  Individuals, families, churches, and organizations aren’t just part of society, they’re what society is about and what it’s for.  They don’t need to be coordinated or corralled toward some singular purpose defined by the government, nor do they exist at its pleasure.  Rightly understood, government’s purpose is to provide the basic infrastructure and rules necessary to allow its citizens to live, work, trade, and self-organize and then to get out of the way so they can get about life’s real business.

So what (non-political) little platoons are you part of and what are they up to?  I’ve managed to miss the last few meetings, but I’ve been involved with South Shore Astronomical Society, on and off, for a number of years.  Besides giving enthusiasts a place to geek-out at lengths that might otherwise endanger domestic peace — though it serves that function, too — the group provides free educational programs for families, camps, and scouting organizations.  There’s nothing more fun than showing someone the Galilean Moons, the rings of Saturn, or the Hercules Cluster for the first time, and knowing that you’re giving parents something fun and edifying for the whole family for the price of of gas money is incredibly gratifying.  I’ve also been a co-leader with the Appalachian Mountain Club, though it’s been a few years since I last led a hike.