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Be Thankful Every Day

If I could ask anyone reading this to take one thing from what I have talked about on here, it would be to never take your life for granted and to be thankful every single day for the things that you have in your life. There is always someone out there who would do anything to be in your shoes and it could absolutely always be worse, no matter how hard things may seem to be.

Embrace It All

Every day that I wake up in the morning, I take the time to acknowledge the fact that I am alive and that I have a million things I am thankful for in my life. I never had this attitude before the work I did at SPITAK and I really cannot express this enough.

land1Even though I have gotten to the age where my body can’t handle the work I used to do in regards to volunteering, I still maintain a healthy lifestyle at my current job as a landscaper for The work that I do now probably doesn’t sound ideal to most people and I am sure that most of you would not want to do it for a living.

I really never thought I would either and if it weren’t for my experiences volunteering I probably never would have agreed to do a job like this. Now that I have seen some of the devastation that I have, I could not be more grateful to have a job like this and allow myself to live comfortably and surround myself with good people. Whether I am doing land clearing or tree removal, there isn’t a day after working that I leave without smiling and really embracing how lucky I am.

I really hope I can encourage some of you out there to take action and see what volunteering opportunities you might have around your town. I promise you it will have a more meaningful impact on your life than you may think.

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Different World View

saveNot many people can say that they have seen the things that I have and to have been completely involved in such a different culture than we are used to now here in America. After the years of working as a volunteer, I have had a completely different view on the world around me and this is every day of my life. There is not a single day that has gone by since my work where I don’t look back and think about the experiences that I had.

To get a little bit more of an understanding of some of the work that I did as a search and rescue worker, click here and check out some of the info that they have on their site. This obviously isn’t who I worked for but it has a lot of the work that I did and can probably paint a little bit better of a picture than I can.

No Sugar Coating It

The world can be a very scary place and there is no denying that. The majority of people neglect to acknowledge this fact and sort of go through life without addressing it and just hoping that the potential ugliness of the world doesn’t reach their own lives. Personally, I have seen how ugly it can be and after witnessing lives being lost and the genuine emotions that can follow, I can never look at the world around me the same way.

I think this has been a positive thing for me. I don’t want to pretend things can get bad and it really makes me appreciate what I have in my life.

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Ever Too Late?

Whenever I share some of the stories that I have from life in Armenia and my work as a volunteer, I am often asked if I think it is ever too late to start volunteering or doing some of the work that I did at SPITAK. Well, I am going to say that no, generally speaking it is never too late to start doing this kind of work but it might be for certain work.

Back when I was in my early twenties and in the prime of my life, I was in perfect health to do some of the search and rescue work that we did. I am also realistic. I would like to sit here and tell you that you can do what I did at any age and that it is for everyone, but my case was a little bit special.

You Don’t Have to Change the World

volThe work we did was very physically and mentally demanding and I really wouldn’t suggest anyone over the age of 50 or so to take on some of the jobs that we did. You really don’t have to be as extreme as I was and you don’t have to try to save the world. It can be as simple as volunteering for your neighborhoods soup kitchen to make a difference and to feel the benefits from it and help make you appreciate the life you have much more.

You don’t have to be a rescue worker to make a difference in someone’s life. You wouldn’t believe how much people appreciate you taking any time at all out of your day to try and make theirs a little bit easier.

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You Appreciate More

Going to kind of continue off my last post in regards to having your perspective and outlook on a lot of things changed when you make the choice to be a volunteer for an organization and talk about how much it makes you appreciate everything in your life a lot more than you would have before.

The two can kind of be intertwined but they are very important to talk about and are the biggest things that I have noticed in my own life from volunteering at SPITAK.

Didn’t See Myself Here

landIf you would have asked me when I was a kid where I saw myself in 30 years there is no way I would have ever said working for my uncle’s company as a landscaper here in America. The idea probably would have made me sick and I would have done everything I could to not make that happen. I really didn’t start making good choices in my life until I started as a volunteer, and I really was not heading down a good path.

Now that I have seen the things I have seen as a search and rescue worker, I wake up every day thanking God that I am still alive and that I have a great job which allows me to live comfortably and surround myself with good people. I cannot imagine anyone who wouldn’t have the same outcome with some meaningful volunteering and if you are ever in a rut, I promise you this can do wonders for anyone’s mental health.

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Changes Your Perspective

I hope that I am helping someone out there at least consider the idea of volunteering after hearing a little bit about my experiences because it really can be life changing and make you look at the world in a whole new light. Before I started volunteering at SPITAK, I really did not have any sort of positive outlook on life and I really wasn’t going anywhere in life. This all changed after the first couple weeks of my new adventures and I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t make the change.

New Outlook

14There are a few reasons that volunteering can have amazing impacts on your life and your whole outlook. The biggest thing is the genuine and authentic gratitude that people show you when you have done something amazing for them. For the most part, I don’t think people really expect complete strangers to go out of their way to help them so when you do it really puts in a new faith in humanity so to speak.

Another thing that I find especially true in my case, is that you are involved and helping people that are usually worse off than you are so helping them and seeing the ways that some people live really give you a new sense of appreciation for all of the things that you have in your life. It could always be worse and this becomes especially true when you see and work with people who are far less fortunate than you are.

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If there is anyone out there reading this who has never volunteered for anything before, and if there is one thing that I would like anyone to take from this whole thing is please just give it a try. No matter how big or how small the work may be, it will only change your life and outlook on life for the better. This is something that I promise and guarantee.

Anyone Can Do It

13There has never been anyone in my life that I have met who has ever done any sort of volunteer work and they have regretted it for any reason. It is just something that everyone can feel good about doing and there is so much help that is needed around the world.

The work that I did at SPITAK was something that I will never forget and I am a completely different man because of it. That being said, it was basically a full time job for me and it really did a lot of time and dedication but not everyone has to do something as extreme as search and rescuing. But there is something that anyone could enjoy doing and really help make a difference in the world. Even going to your local animal shelter can make a huge difference and I would encourage anyone to give it a try.

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My Life Now

A lot has changed since I have made the move here to America and I no longer participate in any sort of volunteer rescue work or anything like that but I have grown and learned so much about myself and what is important in life. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t look back and just smile at everything I did during my time there and it has made me so grateful for everything that I have in my life now.

The Little Things

12Right now I work as a landscaper for my uncles company and I don’t take one day for granted in my life. I know how hard it is to go through a struggle in life and now that I am here in this great country and have a way to pay my bills and I am healthy, there is nothing more I could ask for.

Although I definitely don’t get the same rewarding feelings that I got during my time at SPITAK, I have an appreciation that I never had before and I am thankful every day. If there is one thing that I could say is the most important thing that I have taken from my past work is that things could 100% always be worse. No matter how bad things may seem, there is always someone who would do anything to be in your position over theirs.

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My Life Before

Life has been very different for me since moving to America. I must say, that I have enjoyed my time here very much and I really could not imagine moving back to Armenia after finally getting adjusted to life here. There are so many more things to do and for the most part, everyone has been wonderful to me so far. This country is so diverse and there is so much culture when you know where to look for it and I really appreciate that fact.

Time For Change

11Back when I lived in Armenia, my life started off pretty bleak. My parents were poor and there really was not much hope for kids in my situation in the town that I grew up in. After getting into some trouble a couple of times and having really no direction in my life at all, I had a sort of epiphany when I was around 18 years old and knew that it was time for me to make a change for my life if I wanted any kind of future.

This is where SPITAK came in and I can honestly say saved my life. I never in a million years thought that I would be able to see myself volunteering for absolutely anything, let alone doing something as important and rewarding as working for a search and rescue organization. It was such an eye opening experience and immediately changed my entire outlook on life.

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Search & Rescue

There are a few things that I have done in my life that I can say that I am very and genuinely proud of, and volunteering for SPITAK in my home country of Armenia makes the top of the list.


Memories of a Lifetime

I could write a book about my time working for this great organization and there are people and memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. There have been few things in my life that have been as rewarding and satisfying as the work I did and what I have learned from SPITAK.

When I lived in Armenia, I didn’t have that much of a future ahead of me and lived in a very poor part of the country. When I was around 18 or 19 I decided that if I didn’t start making some changes in my life, I was going to wind up on the streets or in jail and one night I made a promise to myself to change the direction I was going in and to try and make a difference in this world.

I had heard about the organization before, but didn’t have much experience in what they were all about but I decided to go in and see what I could do for them anyways. After months of training and learning from some of the nicest people I have ever met in my life, I was brought on board and made a part of their volunteer rescue team and I would love to share some of the experiences I had during my time.