Regie Johnson has been named 2016 Volunteer of the Year for his work with Many Lights. For the past two years, Regie has provided strategic operational support, has helped organize events as part of the event committee, and is a passionate ambassador who introduces our vision to others widely. He is dedicated to our mission, is dependable, and is a committed member of our team.
Regie lives and works in the Seattle/Tacoma area, is retired from the U.S. Air Force, and currently works for the federal government. He is an umpire and referee for high school fast pitch softball and basketball in Washington State and Canada. During the tax season, Regie volunteers as a tax preparer with AARP. In addition to volunteering with Many Lights, Regie volunteers as a member on the Community Accountability Board for the Pierce County Juvenile Diversion Program. This program helps juvenile offenders with no prior criminal history take responsibility for their minor criminal offenses outside of Juvenile Court.
Many Lights: How long have you been volunteering with Many Lights and how did you get involved?
RJ: Since 2014 to the present. My involvement with Many Lights started when I began a transformational change project for the organization as part of my doctoral program. I have been hooked ever since.
ML: What is your reason for supporting the vision of Many Lights?
RJ: I believe in what the Foundation is working to accomplish which is building Hope Lights neighborhood so children in foster care will have a permanent place to call home. I believe this will decrease the displacement of foster children in the King and Pierce County areas. I would build the community with my own dime if I could, that’s how much I believe in the Many Lights Foundation.
ML: Do you recall a memorable moment from this past year?
RJ: What is memorable for me is meeting the board and staff members and working on my first fundraising event. During my years in the military I worked on fundraising events, but somehow this was a different feeling. Raising funds for Many Lights means being part of creating a vision from the ground up. Raising funds for Many Lights means the difference between children having a place to belong and children having no place to call home.
ML: Why is volunteer work so important to you?
RJ: Volunteering provides me with a sense of worth and selflessness. Helping those less fortunate than myself is a humbling feeling. I have always volunteered for joy and self-gratification and never for exposure or gain of volunteering. Helping others and creating smiles means a lot to me, and volunteering is one avenue that allows me to do this.
ML: How do you feel about being recognized as Volunteer of the Year?
RJ: Being recognized for this award is humbling. I did not expect such recognition for myself, but I lobbied for one of the other Many Lights volunteers to receive this prestigious award. To my surprise, I am the winner and I am grateful and honored to be the recipient of the inaugural Many Lights Volunteer of the Year Award.
ML: Is there anything you want to share with our Many Lights Community?
RJ: I want to share that the word community means “a feeling of fellowship with others, groups of people working together as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Our goal is to build a supportive community for foster children, our interest is to raise as much money and awareness as needed to build this community, and our attitudes must remain focused, driven, and positive because together we will achieve the vision of a community where foster children have forever homes and families.
This year, Many Lights is launching a volunteer recognition program. As a nonprofit organization, we depend heavily on the work of volunteers. This award is one way for us to recognize volunteers who are making a difference in our organization and our community.