From October 19 – 25, today’s most popular television programs are shining the spotlight on volunteering and service. VolunteerMatch staff members will be reviewing a few of the programs here on Engaging Volunteers.
This morning The View introduced the winner of ABC’s Ultimate Volunteer Contest. Tom Gipson, a custom home builder from Raleigh, North Carolina was named America’s Ultimate Volunteer for his efforts building homes for the homeless with the Home Builder Blitz program which he started in 2002 while working with Habitat for Humanity.
Initially a local project, the Home Builder Blitz program partnered with Habitat for Humanity International in 2004 and has since become a nation-wide initiative. Completing homes in just days, the program calls on local building professionals to donate their time and resources. Despite the slow market for new homes over the last few years, the program has continued to complete hundreds of homes each year, tallying an impressive 1,000 so far.
What does Tom think about his new title of Ultimate Volunteer? He tells ABC’s local Raleigh news station, “My hope really is that as a result of the publicity of the show it will further promote the program.”
The View launched its search for this super-volunteer in late September, encouraging viewers to log on to its website to nominate individuals in their local communities who go above and beyond to help others, and who inspire others to take action.
Though I had been stationed at my TV for 45 minutes eagerly waiting for the the segment on Gipson, it happened so quickly I almost missed it it. The ladies on The View spent a lot of time detailing the prize Mr. Gipson received from Starwood Hotels, and very little on telling viewers the full story about his commendable good works. I’m happy to see the show honor the good work that real people are doing for their communities, but I would have preferred an equal amount of attention paid to the work Gipson is doing and what The View is doing to celebrate that.