I first met Basil about twenty years ago. We attended  deacon training together for the Byzantine Catholic Church.  Basil was already almost sixty years old at the time, past the age limit for acceptance into the program. It can take up to five years or more for someone to complete the course of studies and be ordained and the Church felt the ministry of such an older fellow would be too short.  Fortunately,  the Church wisely waived the age requirement.  Basil completed the training and he was subsequently ordained.  I was proud to serve at that ceremony with the rest of our classmates. 

During our training,  I marveled at Basil’s  energy and willingness to continue to serve his community. This training was the beginning of a “second career” for him.  Basil served as a Byzantine Catholic deacon for many years and was in good standing with the Church until his untimely passing earlier this year at the age of 79.  The feature picture of this post shows him incensing during a church service.  

Events such as this are often times for introspection. To be sure, Basil lived a flourishing life of service to his community. He was married for over 58 years and was a county employee.  Basil was active in the Knights of Columbus, and of course as a deacon in his church.  He lived his calling as a deacon by volunteering his time to causes he felt strongly about. It is this aspect of his life I would like to discuss. 

In 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies noted one out of 10 jobs in the United States was  with  non-profit organizations.  This by itself is a staggering statistic. It becomes all the more impressive when one considers the amount of volunteer hours NOT included in that number.  Candid Learning reports that in 2017 over 25% of all adult Americans volunteered  8.8 billion hours of their time.  Given a full time work year is about 2,000 hours give or take, that is about 4.4 million  full time work years, or about 3.3% of the number of full time employees in the U.S. economy. Not only don’t these volunteers get paid for their time, they don’t get a tax deduction for it either.  It is truly a sacrifice.  When you consider volunteering is part of the  not-for-profit triad of  “Time, Talent, and Treasure”, the impact this has on the economy and our society is considerable. All the volunteer  time and donations shows Americans truly are a generous people.  

Can we do more?  Of course we can.  Some do more.  Some do less. Life circumstances can often dictate the amount of volunteer work we do and the amount we contribute.  Volunteering is the lifeblood of many not-for-profit organizations and churches.  Please do what you can when you can. Basil touched the lives of many people during his time on this Vale of Tears.   Perhaps his example can be an inspiration for all of us. 

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One thought on “Volunteering and Giving Back

  1. Well said    Basil was a friend first. Our classmates always smiled around Basil. He was a gentleman among us. We will miss him.God Bless Basil. Deacon Charles 

    Sent from the all new AOL app for Android


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