May Volunteers of the Month: John Kennedy & Josh VanDervort

We are thrilled to announce that both John Kennedy and Josh VanDervort are our May Volunteers of the Month!

Josh VanDervort, April VanDervort and John Kennedy at the 2013 Komen Columbus Race for the Cure.
Josh VanDervort, April VanDervort and John Kennedy at the 2013 Komen Columbus Race for the Cure.

This dynamic duo co-chair the road marshals committee, this group of volunteers help maintain safety and provide directions for all participants along the Race course.

“John and Josh spend hours ensuring they have the proper number volunteers placed in important areas on the course, also taking the time to hold three separate training sessions to ensure their volunteers are educated and up-to-date in the latest Race information,’ said Becca Thomas, race director at Komen Columbus,  “John and Josh have always been a hard-working, dependable and energetic team and we are lucky to have them as part of the Race committee.”

John and Josh share with us, in their own words, why they volunteer at Komen Columbus.

What (or whom) inspired you to get involved with Komen Columbus?

John: Three experiences come to mind.  The first was the loss of a dear friend who worked with me at Nationwide by the name of Nancy Weese.  She fought breast cancer for several years and then passed much too soon.  I miss her intellect, smile and sense of humor.  The second is a dear friend who went through a double mastectomy, traveled to Sloan Kettering in New York City for all her treatments, and is doing great today!  The third is my sister-in-law-who has struggled with melanoma and breast cancer in the last 18 months.  She is doing better at present!  However, it was April VanDervort that asked me to help out and connected me with Komen Columbus.   I find April’s commitment to Komen Columbus an inspiration.

Josh: My grandmother was a big inspiration for me to get involved with Komen Columbus. In 2001 and again in 2008 she was diagnosed with cancer. Watching her struggle and eventually lose her battle with cancer motivated me to volunteer with Komen Columbus and try and improve the lives of others with breast cancer.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus?

John: I have done a lot of volunteering with a variety of groups.  Volunteering with Komen Columbus is a unique experience.  I enjoy the professionalism of the Komen Columbus staff, the focus on a common goal, and the sense of teamwork and energy that drives us all forward as one.

Josh: Being able to firsthand see the differences that are being made in others’ lives is my favorite part about volunteering with Komen Columbus. The gratitude that you can see on survivors faces when they have been given lifesaving treatment made possible by Komen Columbus is truly unmatched.

What is the most memorable moment or event you’ve experienced with Komen Columbus?

John: The Komen Columbus Race for the Cure!  After all the meetings, road marshal trainings, race set-up, race day preparations, there is nothing like the Race itself.  Seeing thousands of people moving toward and past you, all with one purpose, the emotions and energy, the pageantry, and all that pink – there is nothing like it!

Josh: The most memorable moment of my Komen Columbus experience is the finish line at the Race for the Cure. I really enjoy watching the survivor chute and seeing all of their faces and the accomplishment when they receive their flower.

When you’re not volunteering for Komen Columbus, what do you like to do?

John: I like to sing in my church choir, play piano, walk the dogs, spend time with family and friends, learn about and collect art, listen to music, and read.

Josh: I am on Gahanna Lincoln High School’s swim team, a member of Gahanna DECA, and work for Columbus Academy Summer Experience.