Health, Safety and Security

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist in Washington, D.C., Area Performs Magic as Recreational Therapy for Hospital Patients

When not working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I am an active magician in the Washington, D.C., area. My most rewarding shows have been at the National Institutes of Health's Recreational Therapy Program, where I have volunteered for the past seven years. I perform magic as part of a structured program that gives patients of all ages an opportunity to relieve the stress of being in the hospital environment. This program helps patients gain some self-control in a place where they might feel they otherwise have none. I most often perform room-to-room for individual patients, usually for those with pediatric-immune disorders and adults with behavioral or oncology health concerns. I teach them tricks that they can share with others, helping to incorporate magic into patient treatment/rehabilitation.

I have also volunteered as a magician/docent with the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History's Sant Ocean Hall since it opened last year. There, I use magic to help visitors make a stronger connection to the environmental messages that the Ocean Hall conveys.

- Jason Goldberg, Fish Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arlington, Va.

National Park Service Employee in Luray, Va., Volunteers With Hospice, Helping Caregivers Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Grief

I volunteer with Rockingham Memorial Hospital Hospice in Harrisonburg, Va. I serve as a bereavement volunteer to families after the hospice patient dies. We send them cards and informational mailings for the first year after the patient's death. Read More I make phone calls every month or so to 'check in' with primary caregivers (usually spouses or adult children), helping them find healthy ways to work through the grieving process. Most people appreciate this listening ear, and I often spend an hour or more on the phone with complete strangers, talking about the death of their loved one and what they have been experiencing since.

- Julena Campbell , Shenandoah National Park, NPS, Luray, Va.

Bureau of Reclamation Employee Honors Veterans by Volunteering in Northern California Veterans Hospital

As a Marine Corps veteran, I am an active member of my local Disabled American Veterans' chapter. Many of these people, mostly men and women from the Vietnam and Korean-War eras), have sacrificed so much both physically and emotionally. Their willingness to selflessly give so that future generations can live in a free country called me to volunteer at my local Veterans Affairs hospital.

Once a pay period on my flex day, I spend several hours at the Mather VA hospital of Northern California, helping out where ever I can. My volunteer assignment involves working in the dermatology clinic. However, I have also helped man the information booth, pointing patients in the right direction. In addition I have aided the volunteer-services office in packaging up toiletries and supplies, which it will give to homeless vets during an annual health-outreach program. Sometimes all I can offer is a smile, but as a client of the VA system myself, sometimes that's all you need when you're facing uncertain medical treatment.

I don't share this story to seek recognition. I am no hero for what I am doing. I do hope to call attention to the needs of the men and women who have suffered injuries in the line of duty protecting all that we hold dear. Thank you for encouraging volunteerism throughout Interior.

- a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Employee in Sacramento, Calif.

Reclamation Manager Serves as Retired Affairs Volunteer at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California

I volunteered 16 hours a month as a retired affairs volunteer at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif. There, I assisted retired military personnel with any questions or issues they brought forth, such as widows of retirees needing information on their husbands' pensions. During that time, I also served as assistant coordinator for an annual Navy Marine Corps Relief Society fund drive that raised more $200,000 to assist young marines and their families in times of need.

I also volunteer as a board member for the Joshua Tree National Park Association, which provides financial and technical support to the association to further its mission.

- Valerie Thomas, manager, Environmental Compliance Group, Lower Colorado River Region, Reclamation, Temecula, Calif.

National Park Service Employee's Volunteer Experiences Benefit Security of Two Northeast Region Parks

Through the years, I have gained extensive incident-command and emergency-management experience as a volunteer. I have been a volunteer emergency-medical technician for many years. I am the past chief and current captain of the Nottingham Ambulance Squad in Hamilton, N.J. In addition, I've been an American Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer for many years. (Currently I'm a lead responder in the Central N.J. Chapter, Princeton, N.J.) I'm also a licensed amateur radio operator.

This experience has had a direct impact on my work, benefiting the National Park Service and the Department of Interior:

  • I have become a member of the DOI Incident Support Team (Larry Broun's team), as well as a member of the National Park Service Eastern Incident Management Team (Zeph Cunningham's team).
  • I have earned a "Red Card" by meeting federal wildland-fire qualifications for various positions in the finance section and for medical-unit-leader trainee.
  • I have written the Pandemic Plan and Continuity of Operations Plan for the NPS Northeast Regional Office.
  • I have written the Continuity of Operations Plan for the Thomas Edison National Historic Park and Morristown NHP.
  • I have served as collateral-duty, emergency-medical technician for Thomas Edison NHP and Morristown NHP.

- Joseph F. De Monte, facility management specialist, Northeast Region, NPS, Philadelphia, Penn.

National Park Service Employee in Virginia Volunteer at Fire Department Since Sept. 11, 2001

I work for the National Park Service on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. I have chosen to volunteer for the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department in Bedford, Va. I made this decision immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, and have continued to do so through the present. I currently hold the position of deputy chief in an all-volunteer fire department that serves the city of Bedford and Bedford County, Virginia. During the past eight years, I have held numerous positions, including chief of department. I average 20 calls each month and approximately 200 hours of time training each year. I am also active in the administration of the department. As part of membership in the volunteer fire department, I spend many hours educating students at local public schools about fire prevention. This includes providing information to every elementary school in our first-due area and working with the emergency-medical-technician program in the three local high schools.

I chose to volunteer as a way to give back to my community. I chose my strongest knowledge base and applied it to this volunteer opportunity. Throughout the past eight years I have made a difference in our community by protecting lives and property.

- Zeph Cunningham, Blue Ridge Parkway, NPS, Virginia and North Carolina

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