Volunteer: Man of good will

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer

An Eastern New Mexico University art instructor has been recognized for his efforts to help others.

Greg Senn has been named Volunteer of the Year as part of Goodwill Industries of New Mexico’s 2010 Edgar Awards in Human Services.

“It kind of flabbergasts me,” said Senn, who teaches sculpture, jewelry and design. “I had not expected it. I feel there are a lot of people doing a lot more than what I’m doing in terms of volunteer service.”

Leaders with Habitat for Humanity of Roosevelt and Curry Counties nominated Senn.

Habitat Executive Director Joyce Davis said Senn has worked with the organization since before it became an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International in 1998 and was instrumental in completing the application for the affiliation.

“Whatever was needed, Greg was always there, and he has been a super, super board member,” she said.

With the affiliate starting its eighth house, Senn worked on the construction crew.

Senn has also volunteered his time for the Habitat “A Brush with Kindness” program, which provides repairs and improvements on existing homes for owners who can’t hire someone for the work, Davis said.

Goodwill Marketing Director Shauna O’Cleireachain said judges consider selfless giving, length of service, contributions made, number of people affected, giving more than time and outstanding service when choosing a volunteer of the year, .

In addition to volunteering his time, O’Cleireachain said Senn also purchased tools for Habitat and allowed volunteers to use his personal tools. He also helped find and refurbish a trailer for tools and continued his education by attending state and national meetings and bringing back information.

Senn said he volunteers because people have helped him in the past.

“There have been a lot of people who have donated time on my behalf, from music teachers to Boy Scout leaders, and I see donating my time as pay back,” he said.

Senn became involved with Habitat because of his interest in construction, which he said he still enjoys. The biggest reward in his efforts is working with the families who get the Habitat houses, Senn said.

“I swear I get more out of it than the recipients do,” he said. “I find it extremely personally rewarding.”

Besides his work with Habitat for Humanity, Senn built and maintains the fountain outside Portales Public Library and has worked with Relay for Life, donated his artwork to charity, and given guest presentations.