Royal Neighbors National Sales Executive David Decker was named Top Employee Volunteer in 2021. David logged 532 hours, placing him at the top of the Century Club list. The Royal Neighbors Century Club program honors employees who significantly impact their communities by volunteering 100+ hours a year.
With his mother being a passionate volunteer, David’s exposure to community impact started at a young age. “Volunteering was always a part of my family growing up,” said David. “My mother volunteered at the library, was a Girl Scout leader, and supported every school organization and event. My dad coached sports and was a Scout leader, too. My parents stepped up whenever an organization was looking for a coach or someone to lead an event or experience. As kids, we were along for the ride.”
Volunteering is part of the extended Decker family as well. David’s mother-in-law, Regina (Jeannie) Fitzpatrick, was named a 2021 Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment award and grant recipient for her work as host of Wednesday Night Community Suppers at St. Peter’s Parish Hall in Spotswood, New Jersey.
With volunteerism being such an integral part of his upbringing and family life, David recognized early on that “without volunteers, many of the organizations and events that we participated in could not exist.” He added, “volunteers are the glue that keep communities together.”
David and his wife Cathleen are so passionate about their community work, they started a Royal Neighbors Chapter. The chapter was ranked sixth in the Royal Neighbors list of Top 10 Chapters in 2021.
“Our current focus is working with a group of local religious organizations to make sure everyone who needs food has access to it. We work with a thrift shop sorting donated items,” David said. “The proceeds from selling these items help fund our food pantry and Wednesday night community suppers. We currently feed over 120 people and provide groceries each week.”
In addition to his chapter work, David serves as a director on two community boards of directors.
It’s clear David and his family are making a huge impact in their New Jersey Community, so we wanted to know more about what volunteerism does for David. He kindly shared five reasons volunteering is good for his soul.
1. Volunteering benefits my mental and emotional health
“We are often caught up in our day-to-day challenges and tasks. These are important but being present to help others in the moment is a great source of my happiness. I tell everyone, ‘make the time to volunteer.’ The life you improve most will be your own.”
2. Volunteering elevates my career
“Royal Neighbors is the first organization I have been associated with where volunteering is part of our culture, and it’s celebrated. Through our chapters and our employees, we are making a difference in the communities where we live and work. My biggest takeaway from volunteering is time management. Juggling work and volunteering forces me to be more organized. My wife always says, ‘if you want something done, give it to the busiest person you know – they will figure out how to get it done.’”
3. Volunteering strengthens my relationships
“I have developed friendships with people throughout our community who I would never have met because we traveled in different circles. As for family connections, my entire family, and my wife’s family volunteer together each Saturday, so we see each other regularly. We are getting our hands dirty, interacting with people face-to-face, and seeing the impact firsthand. That’s what community is all about.”
4. Volunteering gives me meaning
“Our happiness depends on far more than our job, paycheck, hobbies, or relationships. Volunteering is a low-pressure way to find your north star and purpose. When people count on you inside and outside your home, you quickly learn you are part of something bigger than yourself, which has always given me meaning.”
5. Volunteering is just plain fun
“For as much as we do to serve others, volunteering has been a source of joy for me. In my experience, the people who volunteer are there because they love it – it’s work they want to do – not have to do. I also find that volunteering with a friend or family member can often make it more fun and provide a level of support as you settle into your new role and service community.”
Learn more about how employees and Members are volunteering and programs to support your volunteerism here.