Volunteer Spotlight: Ron with the Kiwanis Club

Ron Smith spearheads the Kiwanis Club’s volunteer work with Ronald McDonald House and shares why volunteering is so important to him.

How long have you been volunteering?
My wife Joanne and I have been volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House since the Fall of 2009. I was the Kiwanis Southwest District Governor that year. We served a meal – and as a result of seeing the complex – we decided to sponsor a family room in 2010 and our two Kiwanis Clubs helped to fund the renovation of our room.

What keeps you coming back?
My wife loves to cook – I love to grill … so it fits us.

Ron and Jason

But preparing and serving the food is only the beginning.  Starting at our first dinner, I decided to go out and sit with the families. WOW … that was awesome. I found out they really want to talk to us and found out how truly SPECIAL they were. However, I found two who were really special.

The first was Jason. He had been born without a roof to his mouth. We first met him when he was about 4 years old. His family was from the Loughlin area and came over to Phoenix every month for several years.  One trip they needed tires when they got here – and our clubs took care of that.  Subsequently, Jason came through all the surgeries successfully and what a terrific end to that story.

The next one was a young lady who came in with her parents to eat.  She came over to me and asked if I would color with her.  I told her I would, but it after we get all the food prepared. I forgot, and she came out into the kitchen. She pulled on my shirt and stated, “I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO COLOR WITH ME.” Well, I dropped everything and she took my hand.

As we were walking out to her family’s table, she stated, “I have no hair cause I’m going through chemo.” That caught me off guard, but I did reply, “Well I am losing my and I don’t know what’s going on.” While we were coloring, she informed me that in the morning she was having surgery. Yes, I did lose it a little, but got back to coloring. We had great conversation and when done I went back to the kitchen. As we were packing up, she came out into the kitchen with her family, and she let me know quite emphatically, “Mr. Smith, I am going to be O.K.”

What is your advice for someone interested in volunteering at RMHC?
My advice is to get involved and you just might be surprised that not only do you have an opportunity to give, but you might actually be on the receiving end. And let me tell you, it will be LIFE CHANGING.