Today is Volunteer Recognition Day; a day to honor those working on behalf of others. At Marco, we work hard to earn our philanthropic reputation in the communities we serve. We sponsor events, participate in fundraisers and encourage employees to volunteer on or off company time.
Marco’s Approach to Doing Good
Jeff Gau, CEO, said in his blog, Deciding How to Give Back, “Our philosophy of giving back is not only good for our communities, it’s also a great way to create a place where people want to work. And frankly, it’s good for business. Directing our contributions to support our employees, our customers and many organizations across a wide geography seems to fit well with our company culture.”
All of our employees participate in one way or another throughout the year. Some of our biggest participation happens in our Annual United Way Campaign. Last year our employees alone contributed over $120,000! So today, we honor them!
I’d like to feature a couple of Marco employees from our Sioux Falls, SD office, Gary Weckwerth and Dustin Bonn, and Shaun Falken out of our Aberdeen location, who have gone beyond business and have made volunteering a part of their lives.
Gary is a Regional Sales Director that has truly taken volunteering to a whole new level. This is apparent in the many organizations he gives his time and energy to:
- American Cancer Society
- Junior Achievement
- Boys & Girls Club
- Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce/Diplomat Program/Sports & Recreation Committee
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes
- Children’s Care Hospital & School
- Howard Wood Dakota Relays
- Sioux Falls Youth Hockey Association
Q: How did you begin volunteering, Gary?
Gary: I was fortunate early in my career to have been taught by my first employer the importance of volunteering for both personal and professional reasons. (Plus I was in a career that was very high profile – I was a TV sportscaster in South Dakota for ten years – so I was asked to volunteer a lot.)
During my broadcasting career we formed a basketball team made up of our TV and radio staff and barnstormed around South Dakota raising money for local school booster clubs or various other charitable organizations. We raised over $125,000 during my 7 years on the team. It’s 25 years later and I still run into people that came to watch us play back in the day.
So, I guess that is where it all started, and where I really began to understand the impact one person, and a team of people, can have. I’ve found that serving must be giving of your time first. Everyone’s time is extremely valuable and the experience or true benefits of volunteering come from giving your time. Of course, financial resources keep these organizations afloat, so some will ask a commitment of both time and financial investments.
Q: Why do you volunteer?
Gary: I volunteer for multiple reasons. First, it just plain feels good to give back, whether through time or financial support. Secondary reasons:
- I volunteer because I believe in the causes.
- I give because people have helped me along the way.
- I give because I can.
- Volunteering is also good professionally. You network with people you might not otherwise connect with.
- You learn so many things.
Q: What is one of your favorite accomplishments?
Gary: I own and operate minor league sports teams in Sioux Falls (Sioux Falls Stampede Hockey Club and Sioux Falls Canaries Baseball Club) and charities are constantly asking for us to donate tickets or merchandise to help raise money for their causes. We rarely turn anyone down; I believe it’s my obligation to help. So, we created a foundation with our teams, and over the last 16 years we have raised and donated close to $750,000 to local charities.
Dustin is an Information Technology Consultant in Sioux Falls who was inspired and encouraged by Gary Weckwerth and another local mentor, Julie Nelson, to get involved in his community. His passion is in youth development, so he chose organizations that involve activities with kids.
Q: What organizations do you volunteer for, Dustin?
Dustin: I volunteer with Junior Achievement and the YMCA. I get to teach kids about business and how their education today pertains to what they may face upon graduation. In both of these organizations I help fundraise, but my favorite contribution is in the coaching and mentoring of kids and young adults.
Q: Why do you volunteer?
Dustin: I choose to volunteer because there are many things taken for granted in life, and I believe it is my opportunity to give back. Plus, there is the added advantage of getting to meet new people in the community that have some of the same goals and values that I have.
Shaun is a Marco Technology Advisor by day, and United Way Board Member and Sertoma (which stands for SERvice TO MAnkind) volunteer by night and on weekends. He spends his volunteer time fundraising, budgeting, participating in public cleaning projects and supporting children with hearing and speech impairments. What started as a networking opportunity, turned into a passion for helping others in his community.
Q: Why do you volunteer?
Shaun: Volunteering shows caring – about each other and our communities. To quote Dr. Seuss, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." Today, too many people like to sit and complain, and few exert the effort to improve the things they are unhappy about. There are a million different ways to volunteer and it’s easy to find a way to help a cause that is important to you; plus, it feels good to take action and make a difference.
Thanks to All Volunteers
Regardless of how big or small your contribution may be, it is appreciated by those it affects – and we honor you today! Gary, Dustin, Shaun, Marco employees and readers – thank you for giving your time, attention, energy and/or financial support to others and our communities.