Volunteers are Priceless

Day 4

“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” – Sherry Anderson

Staying at the Lakefront in Anchorage I have had the opportunity to meet many of the fantastic Iditarod volunteers.  These volunteers give countless hours, days, and some even weeks, to ensure the Iditarod runs smoothly.  On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting and spending the day with Lisa Matthews, one of the many hard-working Iditarod volunteers.

Lisa is a first-time Iditarod volunteer from Los Angles, California.  She was introduced to the Iditarod by a co-worker, while in Alaska last year.  Her friend wanted them to volunteer together, and with little hesitation, she signed up!  Thursday evening, Lisa volunteered at the Musher’s Banquet.  During the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage, she will be a VIP Liaison.  Her jobs will include public relations, assisting Idita-Riders and family members in locating their mushers and providing escorts to public officials and honored guests. She is hoping for an assignment in Willow for the Iditarod Restart.  As we talked, I could feel how excited she was to be in Anchorage and involved with the Iditarod.

Throughout the day I learned a lot about Lisa.  For the last 30 years, Lisa has been an airline pilot for Omni International Airlines.  She flies a Boeing 767, a large plane that can hold up to 375 people. Through Omni, Lisa works for the Department of Defense and typically flies only international routes.  This month she has already flown to Norway twice!  I was excited to listen to her many stories and adventures from around the world.  In every city she lands, finding local restaurants is one of her favorite things to do.  She doesn’t want to eat fast food, or at the airport.  She wants to explore and learn about the city she is in first hand.  Her love of learning and adventure has led her on many fabulous journeys. She has an energy and passion for life that is contagious, and with each story, she told it left me wanting to hear more.

Not only is Lisa a true adventurer, but she is also a very caring person, that values friendship.  In the short time we spent together, I knew I had made a friend for life.

Lisa’s enthusiasm and caring heart are indeed “priceless”!