Meet the Volunteers

The Resource Center was a busy place Thursday afternoon. Four volunteers, Bill g69 & Sharon (Walter) g67 Hull, Jan (Schumacher) Logan g68, and Dr. Jay Platte g69 were hard at work all afternoon. I popped around to see what they were doing, and was amazed by what I saw and heard.

Blog 8 Jan LoganJan sat at a table in Jay Platte’s office, copying scanned photos from campus days into a myriad of digital folders. How does she keep everything organized? Since learning how to operate Excel during her volunteer experience, things are getting easier for her. Jan recently completed an alphabetized list of all Fort Wayne graduates who became missionaries, including where they served, for how long, and where they are now. Since Jan was a missionary to Sierra Leone for over 20 years, this project was near and dear to her heart.

Photo via Archives

Jan, along with Bill and Sharon, began volunteering regularly about two years ago. All three come in every Thursday afternoon, willingly completing tasks that range from challenging to mundane. Before volunteering, Jan said she had no idea how much work went into the online archives on the Resource Center website, fw.taylor.edu. Now she knows how to access music files from college gospel teams and how to search for names and photos of former classmates. “What they do with the website—it’s really amazing,” she said.

Across the table, Bill was working in Photoshop, piecing together a class photo from 1946 that he had scanned with a flip scanner. Restored class photos are hung throughout the Resource Center, and Bill has undertaken the enormous task of transferring them online, providing digital copies for the website. Bill is known to spend 60-70 hours per photograph. The work is tedious and detail-oriented, but Bill has the patience for it. “Because I have a love for this college, I feel like it’s something the Lord would be honored by,” he said, without looking up from his work.

Blog 8 image

Can you help us identify these young volunteers, who are shown identifying photos?

Photo via Archives

Jay Platte, volunteer archives coordinator, works closely with the volunteers, training them to use new technologies and assigning projects. He is deeply appreciative of the work they do because, without volunteer help, maintaining the archives and preserving the campus legacy would be an overwhelming task. As alumni, the volunteers’ insider knowledge is invaluable, as they can identify photos, recall dates, and rely on their own memories to check the details. “You can’t train that,” Jay said.

Sharon

Downstairs, Sharon was alone at the table, scanning images. Although she had no experience with scanners previous to her volunteer work, she recently finished scanning each issue of former campus newspapers for alumni to access digitally. While Sharon still has a rough relationship with computers, she said the sacrifice is worth her time because it allows her to preserve and relive her fond memories of the college. “When our school died, it was a hard pill for me to swallow,” she said. But after getting involved at the Resource Center as a volunteer, she realized the Fort Wayne legacy lives on. “I really appreciate the way we are rebuilding that relationship, restoring what we lost,” Sharon said. “And I think the Resource Center is making that happen.”

Photo via Archives

If you would like to volunteer at the Resource Center and participate in the various ways we care, connect, and celebrate, please contact us at alumnifw@taylor.edu or call 260-744-8790. We invite you to participate in a special service event, Staycation 2013, June 3-7. Volunteers are welcome to come for an hour, a day, or a week, as your schedule permits. The event promises to be a delightful mix of work and play. Contact us for more information.

What are your perceptions of the Fort Wayne Alumni & Friends Resource Center and the work that we do? What are some ways you as an individual can help preserve the Fort Wayne legacy?

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