The list of Rick Pogrotsky’s volunteer efforts is long and impressive. It’s certainly something of which he is proud but not something he boasts about while fully embracing the necessity and importance of volunteerism.
Among other things, he’s played Santa Claus for children and seniors; he’s a member of the Optimist Club; and he’s served as the Frankfort representative on the Louisville Area Board of the Red Cross. He served for more than six years as director of the United Way of Franklin County and still helps the organization, currently coordinating the employee campaign at WesBanco Bank, where he is the vice president community relations manager.
“I’ve been here for 13 years,” he said of his employment at the bank that was formerly Farmers and most recently United Bank. “The bank has always been supportive of my volunteer work in the community — and WesBanco has continued that support.”
Pogrotsky says it’s very helpful for volunteers who are still working if their place of employment is supportive and allows them time off. He says whether retired or working, however, everyone needs to put their time to good use — and volunteer work is an important aspect of that investment.
“I’ve found volunteer work helps you feel good when you’ve done something positive for a group, individual or the community,” he said.
Pogrotsky recalls playing Santa for Head Start kids and for senior citizens.
“I remember one little girl telling me what she really wanted Santa to bring was a Christmas tree. I wanted to just take the money from my wallet and give it to her to go buy one.”
Those are the things that have value to a person beyond money.
“Senior citizens ask for things, too,” he said. “Usually it’s good health, companionship, perhaps a longer life.”
Need for volunteers
Pogrotsky says there’s always a need for more volunteers; all anyone needs do is offer their time.
“The non-profits need help with filing, answering the phone, manning the front desk, taking people to appointments — things that don’t take a special talent, just a willingness. That then gives the paid staff more time to do the things they need to do.”
He’s encouraged that the schools are getting their students involved in volunteer work. “Because of time constraints, a lot don’t have time to volunteer and much of it falls to those who are retired.
“Families with multiple children have multiple schedules that run all year now. The kids are so busy it keeps the adults busy getting them from one thing to the next and they don’t have any time to volunteer.
“I think they need to remember when they say or think they don’t have time that someone likely volunteered to coach that team their kids are on — or whatever activity they may be in.”
Pogrotsky says volunteers must be committed and not just sign up for a “resume builder.” It helps, too, to volunteer in some area where you have an interest.
He points out that Frankfort has many potential skilled volunteers because of state workers who have retired fairly young.
“These folks have a lot of talents they can bring to any organization. They know how to take on a task, organize others and get it done.
“I do volunteer work because there’s a need and the way it makes me feel. It’s a chance to re-pay.”