Volunteer spotlight: John Lawther, Fayette Freethought Society


Get to know John Lawther, an active volunteer and member of the Fayette Freethought Society. John participates in quarterly Adopt-a-Highway cleanup days in Peachtree City, Georgia, with the Fayette Freethought Society. But John goes above and beyond with his efforts, volunteering with numerous other causes in his community, on his own, that are very important to him.

John LawtherWhat organizations do you volunteer with?
I volunteer with the American Red Cross as a blood donor, the Fayette County (GA) Animal Shelter as a dog walker, the Fayette County (GA) Board of Education as a science fair judge, and the Atlanta Trek (PTC) bicycle store as a ride leader during their annual breast cancer charity event.

How did you get started volunteering with these organizations?
I started being a regular blood donor while in graduate school and continued afterward. As I realized how relatively few people donate at all, and how very few donate regularly, I gradually increased my donations until now I have given six times a year for the last six years.

I have “rescue” dogs of my own and answered an article in the paper describing the need for walkers. I responded to a request for science fair judges sent by my alumni association last year and repeated this year. I have friends involved in the breast cancer fund-raiser and volunteered when they asked me if I could, and repeated this year.

Why do you like volunteering?
I would truly regret having to miss any of these activities; they are all worthy and rewarding. I think my favorite is dog walking, and I volunteer several hours each week. The dogs are truly appreciative and are full of the joy of the moment regardless of their circumstances. It’s more physical work than the other activities, but immensely rewarding.

What would you say to others who want to volunteer, but don’t know how to get started?
There are so many services available that have a need for volunteers. First, I would look for something on the local level, something easy to get to. Try to find someone else who already does it. A “mentor” is very useful, and almost anybody who is a volunteer will gladly help get you going. Try to pick something to which you can make a regular, scheduled commitment. It’s too easy in today’s hectic world to put off volunteer work until you just quit going if you don’t have a time reserved in which it takes priority.