Blogging in Service – Edison Potter, Signing Off
I have served for a year now as SALT’s Disaster Services and Technology Coordinator (basically, disaster preparedness and IT). My service as an AmeriCorps VISTA ends tomorrow, Friday, July 28th, 2016. I’ve been a part of SALT for longer than that–I started volunteering right after finishing college last spring. My ties, in some way, go back even further than that: To Hurricane Irene and the week after filled with cleanup before I could go back to school. I knew SALT would become important to me as I studied Emergency Management, news of the growing organization filtering through during summer break interludes. Becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA at SALT was the best move I could make, living at home and working in my community, saving money and taking on more responsibility than any entry-level job “in my field” (the most important phrase to recent college grads) would offer.
SALT has helped me grow professionally. I’ve learned how to manage a full-time office job, and learned my working style doesn’t separate work hours/home hours well. (Most Sarah’s Snippets were scheduled between 10PM and 1AM to be sent out in the morning, because of this.) Working at SALT has helped me connect with professionals in emergency management, especially with the folks at the Schoharie County Office of Emergency Services. I was given time and support completing a 24-hour Incident Command System 300 class, a certification important to my future career in metropolitan emergency management. Working here has built my confidence in my tech support abilities, as well, helping a hobby become fully realized as a valuable and marketable skill. My term as a VISTA has built my personal and professional confidence in general. Once I’ve done something I know I can do it again.
Which is why the ways SALT has helped me grow socially can’t take back burner to my professional advancements. It’s been a year of transitions and without the support the SALT staff and other VISTAs have given me, I would have struggled through the last twelve months instead of thriving and moving forward. Personal, family, and health difficulties have come up in the last year and instead of being a source of concern, work has been a source of encouragement. I don’t know if any work place in the future will be so nurturing as SALT has been. I can only hope. Personally, I’m a little concerned the bar for a caring administrative team is set too high, and not just by the steady flow of baked goods and coffee.
It feels good to be excited about what you do. It’s felt good for me to care about Schoharie in a way I never did during the other twenty-three years I spent living here. There’s a softer spot in my heart for my home town now than there ever has been. Although it’s possible I’m just happier with a little money in my pocket, a car, and meaningful work instead of dull schooling, maybe less of the ubiquitous 2005 pop punk “I hate this town” party line, I think it has more to do with the local connections I’ve made and the care SALT fosters for the County. The most concise way I can illustrate the change is this: From birth to the age of twenty-three, I couldn’t have cared less about local goat cheese. Twenty-four is different.
Thank you to former VISTA Supervisor Jill Kubiak for her willingness to bring me on, her professional support, and her continuing friendship. Thank you, Sarah Goodrich, for your kind and high regard, your openness, and your willingness to learn as well as teach. Thank you, Robin Alley, for having such a tremendous heart. Thank you, Jerrine Corallo, for being such a really cool person and a role model. Thank you, current VISTA Supervisor Laura Morace, for trusting and valuing me. Thank you to my fellow VISTAs for being quality office mates and bringing your talents to Schoharie. Thanks to the regular Preparedness Committee–Judy Warner, David Cox, Nancy Dingee, Anne MacCuish, and Eva Gigandet–and to Schoharie County Office of Emergency Services.
Last, maybe least but by no means negligible, thank you for reading the weekly emails and blog posts I’ve been sending out for the last year. All like, seventy of you I see in the website stats…know you have a special place in my heart.