Bob and Joan – Helping to Make it Happen!
By Jessica Beach, Volunteer Coordinator
This being my first year as the Volunteer Coordinator for The Lights of Christmas, I have been a little nervous about recruiting, and scheduling more than 500 volunteers into 1,800 shifts for this momentous event. My co-workers have been assuring me (probably due to my periodic hyperventilation) that all will be well. Their confidence, which is certainly not rooted in my years of experience, made me suspicious that they had information that I did not.
And then, the phone began to ring.
Over the past several weeks, I have received many phone calls from volunteers who are requesting their “usual” Lights of Christmas volunteer position. Upon looking up the records, I discover that the caller has volunteered for The Lights nearly every night for the past 3, 4, sometimes 10 years! Yes, this is where my co-workers unexplainable confidence came from.
I haven’t even officially gotten the word out yet that I am in need of volunteers and already I have a stack of volunteer sign-up forms completed and sitting on my desk (I can feel my hives receding as I write this).
Some volunteers are able to make it out to volunteer at The Lights several nights a week, some stay overnight, and some even bring their RV’s and park on grounds for a month so that they can be close at hand for the entire event. One couple who are among these faithful volunteers are Bob and Joan Benze.
Bob and Joan met the night he got out of the Army and, soon after, were married. They raised their family of five here in Washington. Bob was employed as an Environmental Engineer and Joan as a Real Estate Broker. Their history with the Camp has been a long one. The Benze’s have attended Family Camp for the past 40 years.
Bob and Joan have also been volunteering for The Lights of Christmas for the past five years, and they are back at it again this year. Bob will be helping every night with security and Joan will be cashiering in Tinhorn Town.
When I asked the Benze’s what brought them back to The Lights of Christmas year after year they replied in unison, “the people!” Bob said, “We have known the people there for a long time. We believe in what the Camp does and what it stands for.”
Without volunteers like Bob and Joan Benze, The Lights of Christmas would never be possible, so when you see their smiling faces, be sure to say, “Hi,” and thank them for their faithful service.