On April 7th, 2015, Texas Conservation Corps joined fellow American YouthWorks AmeriCorps members and other Austin-area AmeriCorps programs at City Hall to celebrate Mayor’s Day of Service. Thanks to the support of the OneStar Foundation, one of our Emergency Response Team members was asked to speak. Below are his speech notes on service and Texas Conservation Corps as well as a video that was featured during the event and a photo of all American YouthWorks AmeriCorps participants with Mayor Steve Adler.
As introduced, my name is Chris Gomon. I am one of the crew leaders at Texas Conservation Corps, an AmeriCorps program at American YouthWorks which is an organization dedicated to giving individuals job training through youth and young adult service opportunities. We also have a YouthBuild AmeriCorps program at American YouthWorks, Casa Verde Builders, and they build green houses in East Austin.
I am a co-leader of one of the Emergency Response Teams. As a grantee of the One Star Foundation, ERTs are on-call waiting to assist in the response to incidents not only in Texas but all over the country.
I was asked today to give remarks on why I serve. Admittedly I started doing National Service for somewhat selfish reasons. I just wanted to gain hands-on experience and certifications so I could land a “real” job – whatever that means. What I failed to realize then, and what I really appreciate now, is what National Service gives us as participants. It gives us purpose. Not that we are meaningless slackers before we join programs like these, but now we have a chance to be a part of something that is engaging and dynamic and different and challenging.
I think people, no matter where they are in their lives, need to be challenged. This position at TxCC is especially challenging. Over the course of the year we work in some of the harshest conditions for very long hours. It’s Texas, so yeah it’s hot. It’s work that grinds you down and wears you out and you really do get to earn your sleep. But because it demands so much of you, inevitably you find the very best in you. You become connected to your work in a very personal way. I think that’s true for all AmeriCorps programs. You become the most active person in your life. That is something you might not get out of a lot of other jobs. It is this purpose that I get from National Service that answers why I have and will continue to serve. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
Chris Gomon, Emergency Response Team Crew Leader