by Karl Meyer, Outreach Team
Congratulations to the 2016 Co-op Volunteer of the Year—Alex McIntyre!
My first encounter with Alex was an email he sent in response to a request for volunteers at the Annual Meeting and Party (AMP). The AMP is where I need the most help from our volunteers as it takes a lot of work to set up a space to feed and entertain 600 member-owners. Alex said the following in his email: “I would love to help out at the Co-op Difference annual meeting and event party. If you still need an extra hand, I would be willing to do what is needed to throw an awesome event. Hope to hear back soon. Thanks, Alexander McIntyre.”
I replied with all the tasks and times for which I needed volunteer help and Alex said he would be happy to do any of them and could be there the whole day if needed. It can be a little tricky assessing the commitment level of new volunteers and I was thinking … this guy seems too good to be true but what the heck, I’ll bring him in early and get him in on hauling around all those heavy tables and chairs that the rental place delivers.
Alex showed up on time and ended up helping all day long with hauling, decorating, parking, cleaning, and hauling all the heavy tables and chairs back at the end of the night.
Since then, Alex and I have become friends and he has been helping in a variety of ways, including participating with me at a healthy smoothie presentation for a kid’s camp. Alex has one of those bikes with a blender that can make smoothies as a side biz. He has also been helping Co-op Sustainability Coordinator Melissa Elkins with a waste audit, helping direct traffic in the parking lot during construction, and more.
He volunteers at many, many places in town and on campus.
Alex is currently an Environmental Studies student at Huxley College with an emphasis in Urban Planning and Sustainable Development. Alex gives me faith in the future. He volunteers at many, many places in town and on campus. He arrived at the interview for this story fresh from volunteering at Bellingham Food Bank. When I asked what he did there, he said he started by helping people lift their heavy boxes of food. But now they have him working in the truck and doing the produce pickup, sorting, cleaning, and organizing.
I could go on at length about what I like about Alex. Instead I’ll share just a few things that stood out from my interview notes. He can’t remember the last time he purchased gas. He has received 4.0 grades his entire college career. He’s an avid outdoors person who loves hiking and climbing. He is currently working with students on campus and others in an effort to build a 75-megawatt wind farm in Washington. He wants to volunteer more with the homeless and the elderly. His diet is mostly plant based. Money is not something that makes him happy. He says less is more, and that his health and fulfilling his passions and ethical values are far more important to him than money.
He volunteers because he likes to meet new people, loves being part of the Bellingham community, and feels blessed to be able to give back.
We are grateful that Alex generously volunteers some of his time at the Co-op.
Thank you, Alex!