This year’s Voluntern featured three new awards to recognize members of the live blue™ Service Corps. Volunteers in this program don’t always fit into the awards model of the “Classic Corps.” Achieving the minimum “hours of service” for recognition (250 hours), for example, could take years for volunteers to reach. And yet these volunteers spend their summers in the sun working to make our local environment a better place. Their work is most certainly deserving of recognition.
The first Service Corps award, the “Dedication to a Cause” Award, highlights an individual that has shown dedication to a single issue, sticking with it through thick and thin. While our projects span a number of environmental causes, such as invasive species removal, habitat restoration, and educational outreach, our coastal cleanups are the bread and butter of the Service Corps. In fact, we return to Revere Beach every month throughout the summer to keep America’s first public beach clean.
We sometimes worry these projects will get old, but we always mobilize a solid crew of volunteers. Some are so dedicated that they return every month, all summer long. They understand that what we are doing is important for the health of the oceans. Robert Cuddi in particular has attended almost every cleanup we’ve organized there, and then some. In his emails, he always has a story to tell about his experiences. One in particular comes to mind, where he was RSVPing for an upcoming cleanup:
“I was there yesterday reading under one of the pavilions. While sitting in the shade reading I saw something strange flying through the air, a plastic bag. Well I took off like a shot and started chasing the bag down the beach. It took a bit for this old guy to catch it but I did. One lady yelled, “What the Hell are you doing? It is only a plastic bag. I have an extra one if you need it.” After I caught up with the bag, I stopped by the woman’s chair and explained. She was very nice and said she had NO IDEAR that turtles might eat the bag mistaking it for a jellyfish. So, it was worth the running no two levels, caught the bag and educated the woman.
Yippie, a successful trip to the beach.”
I think that story speaks for itself. Robert, a Service Corps volunteer since October 2015, has accrued over 150 hours of service through the program, many of them spent helping the Rescue and Rehabilitation team during the 2015 turtle stranding season. He has certainly worked hard and continues to show his dedication to the protection of sea turtles (and the rest of the ocean!), making him more than deserving of this award.