Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Power of a Volunteer

A passion to be truly connected to the world is what fuels my love for aviation. I see the same passion for aviation in the volunteers that put their time and effort into working at your Long Beach Airport (LGB). LGB has had a volunteer program for more than 30 years. Our Ambassadors assist travelers with many different kinds of problems ranging from lost children and wallets, to locating airlines and other airport services. Our Tour Guides aid in educating the public including grade school kids, about airport operations, our specialized Fire Department, and LGB’s rich history. Meanwhile, our Archivists work diligently at preserving and collecting memorabilia from our past. These are only a few of the honorable services that our volunteers have committed to during their time here. Currently more than 20 volunteers regularly work at the airport serving our customers. Training is provided on-the-job by an experienced volunteer. Trainees find that there are many questions they can answer for customers almost immediately. It takes a few weeks to master all the information and, after the training is complete, there is always new information to add. Like most working and moving airports, there are constant changes at LGB keeping the volunteer experience always exciting. Our group of volunteers are vibrant professionals who provide a great support network to your airport.

Volunteering at LGB is a very rewarding experience. Every day presents the opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds, as well as other volunteers. Many of the volunteers have been with the airport for more than 10 years. The ages of our volunteers range from 30 to 90 bringing a variety of experiences to our team.

Jane Kelly has been volunteering with LGB for twelve years. She started out with the airport as a Tour Guide and later turned to the Ambassador position.

“I really like being outside and being with people,” said Kelly. “You can make anybody happy with a smile.”

Always bright and cheerful, Kelly is a great example of the type of person who volunteers at LGB. We are very thankful to have such dedicated and enthusiastic individuals representing the airport.

Kelly’s reward for volunteering is one shared by others. Philanthropist, Gayla LeMaire elaborates, “Volunteers are paid in six figures… S-M-I-L-E-S.”

The Tour Guides, Ambassadors and Archivists have been an important face of the city of Long Beach, helping to build a bridge between Airport Staff and the community we serve. Each volunteer works tremendously hard to make travelers and guests to LGB feel welcome and for that I am deeply grateful.

Parking is provided for, and all volunteers must pass a background check. Volunteers who speak a second or third language are highly sought after as the program also provides assistance to greet and direct travelers at the Airport.

Do you like to people watch? Do like history, aviation, and to help people? If you are interested in serving the airport we are accepting applications through the Public Affairs Office or check out our website at www.LGB.org for more information.

(Mario Rodriguez is Director of Long Beach Airport. He has 25 years of experience in the aviation industry and has overseen airports from Kuwait to New Orleans. Questions about this column may be directed to Public Affairs at the Long Beach Airport 562-570-2678.)

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