Playing the Rescuer

by Barbara Mattson

I've often thought that I would not help anyone or any organization unless I thought I was rescuing someone or an organization from certain catastrophe or death.  For example, for several years, I've served as our local National Organization for Women's secretary either in title or in function.  Without the secretary, members don't receive minutes or meeting notices. This is how the members know of their organization's continuing activities and yes, even its existence.  A few years ago, I "rescued" a tape correspondence club from what some members thought would have been certain demise by taking on more of the management of the club as secretary. (I was already newsletter editor.)
Then there's been my church.  When it was smaller, I served on the caring committee, and the social concerns and worship committees.  As the church has grown, I've decided other members were just as able, if not more so, to serve.  So I've limited my activities to one committee plus singing in the choir - a group that's more consistently rehearsing and performing now that the church is larger.
One Sunday morning the choir was getting ready to rehearse with the sound system.  The lectern mike was working, but another floor mike seemed dead.  Jack was speaking into the dead mike with less than flattering comments directed at Brian, who was trying to get the sound going.  Finally Brian came over near where the floor mike was.  At that point, I knew Brian thought the problem was in the mike.  Knowing the lectern mike had a switch, I reached over, found a switch on the floor mike, slid it up, and we had sound.  
That same Sunday, before the church service, Meg (our minister) was trying to find the sheet that had what the service leader needed to read.  I teased and said I would loan mine, which is in my Braille Lite.  She said that a person would have to be extra smart to read braille - a common reaction sighted people have.  They usually say, "I could never do that," as they run their untrained fingers over the dots on my braille display or braille page.
I asked Meg if she could get another service leader page printed out.  She seemed to think it would take too much time.  Instead she said, "I may have to ask you to do it if you don't mind."  Minutes later, after making sure the service leader hadn't taken the sheet for rehearsing, she returned and I was elected.
In a more general, long-term way, I am also playing the rescuer by starting a chapter of the American Council of the Blind in Spartanburg, S.C.  Many familiar with the National Federation of the Blind's strength in South Carolina will understand when I say that I am trying to rescue blind consumers from believing there's only one organization to join in this state. 
The other, and more important reason, is that I'm actually hoping to work with the Federation to promote safer and better traveling conditions in Spartanburg.  This mission to help save lives has led to my involvement with the Mayor's Committee on Disabilities and the Partners for Active Living organization.  The other goal I believe both the Federation and Council can work toward is improving transportation.  This was also a goal of the Mayor's Committee on Disabilities.
As I look over the above, it sounds like I'm tooting my own horn.  I didn't start out with that intention. Rather, I'm simply giving these "rescue" illustrations as examples of activities I've been involved with in the community and volunteer contributions I've made to national organizations.  So, I ask you, who or what will you try to rescue?  What is your goal?  How will you accomplish it?