Volunteer Spotlight: Rick

When I first came aboard, Rick, one of our volunteer Tour Guides, walked me through the life-saving exhibit. He offered me a very technical look at the museum’s life-saving and Coast Guard history. Since mechanics aren’t my strong suit, or my particular interest, I found it hard to keep up. In many ways, I still do.

Rick has been a volunteer with us since 2011. As a retired Coast Guard Master Chief, he brings a passion for life-saving history and unparalleled technical expertise. He is incredibly dedicated, frequently putting in the most annual hours of anyone in the volunteer corps. Here’s what Rick wanted to share about his time as a Tour Guide.

“As a Tour Guide, I enjoy interacting with the guests who come into the museum.  I get great satisfaction when I see a guest get drawn into the many stories of how the surfmen rescued those imperiled seamen. They ask such wonderful questions. There is an excitement as they discover history they didn’t know.  

Some are fascinated by the devices that the United States Life-Saving Service created. The faking box is always a big hit. Others either listen to me recount the heroism of the crews or read the exhibit panels. I will hear a ‘Wow’ or ‘That’s amazing.’  I have heard them call out to a friend or family member, ‘You have to read this.’  The guests make my time as a volunteer very enjoyable and I think they have a good time too.”

The breadth and depth of Rick’s knowledge amaze me every time he steps into the building. He asks important questions that encourage me to do more research or think more deeply about our interpretive choices. Rick, perhaps more than any other volunteer, has pushed me to be a better educator.

Rick is a volunteer who shows up, works hard, and connects with visitors. I’ve seen many positive reviews mention Rick by name, and I’ve even had visitors from years past come up to the front desk asking for him. Why is he so successful? That’s easy – he’s knowledgeable, he’s passionate, and he’s well-spoken. Most importantly – he listens to visitors, and gives them a chance to share their stories. Sometimes that means an impromptu career mentorship session with a current or future member of the Coast Guard. Other times it’s an in-depth explanation of rescue methods or pointing them in the right direction for the scavenger hunt.

During his shifts, Rick does what all our staff and volunteers strive to do – make a positive impact on our visitors. We’re lucky to have him!

Want to help us make a difference? Check out our available volunteer opportunities.

2018-09-01T15:08:12+00:00

About the Author:

Kasey is a public historian. She served as Education Director at the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum from July 2016 - December 2018. She has a BA in History from Indiana University and an MA in Applied History from George Mason University.

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