Yongsan volunteer embodies spirit of giving
April 19, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- "My father died when I was 5 years old leaving my mother to raise me and my younger sister. She led by example in helping the community and giving of her time and effort to help those in need."
That is how Area II's 2012 Volunteer of the Year Dr. Ned Stoll explained his motivation for giving so much of his time and self.
"I remember one Thanksgiving holiday when some members of our church brought us a box of food and a turkey, telling my mom that they knew she had lost her husband and had two children to raise," Stoll said. "My mom said there was a family a few blocks away that were in worse shape and lived in a house with a dirt floor. At the encouragement of my mom, the church group took the food to the other family.
"I never went without food or a roof over my head but I always learned that no matter how bad your situation looked, there were always others in worse shape."
Stoll started volunteering on Yongsan when he moved back to Korea from Germany in March 1999. During a "normal" week he dedicates a minimum of 12-15 hours of week for volunteer activities. He spreads his time between the Korea District Boy Scouts of America, South Post Chapel AWANA Clubs, U.S. Ski Patrol Asia, Men of the Morning Calm, School Advisory Council for Seoul American High School and South Post Chapel Cornerstone Congregation usher and Parish Council member. Weekend field trips easily add another 41 hours to Stoll's volunteer time. During the summer as the Boy Scout Camp Director, Stoll spends 24/7 with the scouts, totaling 160 hours over a two week span.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Jeffrey Hawkins, garrison chaplain for USAG Yongsan, nominated Stoll for Volunteer of the Year because of his tireless dedication.
"Dr. Stoll has for years been the driving force and most passionate and faithful leadership for our Post-Wide Children's Character Building Ministry called AWANA," Hawkins said. "He has ministered to, literally, several thousand children."
It is no accident Stoll devotes so much of his effort to youth in general and the Boy Scouts in particular.
"I enjoyed my time spent as a Boy Scout and always had a desire to volunteer when I became an adult to 'give back' to scouting some of the benefits it gave to me while growing up," Stoll said. "It is particularly heartwarming to receive a thank you from a boy who is having difficulty learning a scouting skill and you take some time to teach him a new way to learn.
"When you realize that the Boy Scouts of America mission is to teach young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime … you understand that learning a complex scouting skill is only the beginning and being successful in learning that skill will help guide the scout toward more important things in his life."
Ever the tireless advocate for youth, Stoll said he is planning the annual AWANA Games and Sparks-a-Rama for May 5, at the SAHS gym.
"Volunteering is not a destination; it is a journey that really never ends. I encourage everyone to consider taking a step, one at a time by looking around our community to see activities, organizations and events that are in need of volunteer help.
"Can you imagine what a truly wonderful community it would be if everyone that could, shared this journey and looked for ways to make a difference? You can go through life either watching or participating. Trust me when I say, participating is the best way to go."