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Service Before Self

During my freshman year one of my friends and I decided to join Interact; a community service club at my school. Our first taste at helping others in our community was at Andre House, a ministry to the homeless in the Phoenix area. I wasn't expenting much, just to serve food to the homeless and then go. Little did I know that it would be one of the most lifechanging expiriences of my life.

When we arrived we washed our hands with soap and put on gloves. We procided to prepare the food that we would later serve to the homeless and the poor that attended. We prepared fruit salad, potato sauce, and cut bread. The food looked quite appetising; however, I wouldn't be the one that would get to enjoy it, it was only for our guests. Once they arrived we all, that had volunteered, went to our assigned jobs and begin to serve the food that we had prepared with care. My job was to give a cup of water to everyone that wanted one; it wasn't complicated.

Most of the people that went to eat were extremly thankful and said 'hi', but one group of men were the expressed their gratitude the most. The group was made up of three men; all of them had fought in the Vietnam War when they had been around the age of 21 and 24. They sat close by and I could hear their conversation.They talked about how their day had been and how their lives would have been different if they hadn't becomed soldiers. They said their lives would have been much different if they had stayed home; however, none of them seemed to regret their decision of serving their country. And then it came to me I was enlightened by what I had around me; most of the people in that room were in the position they were in because of the choises they had made. Some of them chased their dreams, others had bad luck and others lost everything for standing upfor what they believed in.

After listening to the three men talk for a while, I gained the courage to talk to them a little. I asked them if they had fought for a long time and how they were when they were fighting. I was surprised to find out that they had fought for 4 years and that they had becomed friends while they were soldiers. I felt the urge to thank them for fighting to protect this country and when I did they thanked me for trying to help others. I blushed and promised to myself to try harder and not be selfish and to do my best while helping others because what might seem to me like no help at all can make someone's day.

I now volunteer every time I can and everywhere I can. I know that by volunteering I don't create as much a change as those three men did, but big changes start with small actions and I hope that with my actions I can make an impact on the lives of other others. We volunteers can be like an army that fights against poberty and like soldiers make America a better place.





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