Traditions are passed down throughout a family for generations to come. Some lose their significance over a while, but others are timeless. Volunteering has become a meaningful tradition for Carlos Gonzalez and his family. It started with Dennis Wyatt – now the sport director for Special Olympics Texas golf – who passed it down to his friend Scott Rasmussen, who then passed it onto Carlos.
Carlos considers these two men his mentors. They guided him through his first volunteer experience and helped ignite a flame that has been burning for the past 32 years.
The domino effect did not stop there. Carlos kept the tradition alive by handing the torch to his three children and hopes they will continue the legacy.
“It’s a very rewarding experience,” said Carlos. “It puts life in perspective and helps you appreciate what you have.”
To this day, he still volunteers at various SOTX events. In fact, Carlos was one of the first people in the state to become a golf volunteer. Ever since SOTX introduced the sport, he has never missed a state golf competition and he traditionally travels from Spring, Texas to Corpus Christi for the Area 2 Spring Games.
“Each golf event is like a big family reunion, because there are a handful of volunteers that were with me at the beginning and keep coming back,” Carlos said.
One of his favorite parts about volunteering is watching how the other volunteers interact with the athletes.
“I enjoy the cheering, high-fiving and seeing the joy on the volunteers’ faces,” said Carlos. “Some of them are there for community service or school credit, but they leave with so much more.”
Throughout his tenure, Carlos has been a games official and has helped coach athletes. Over the years, he has seen SOTX involvement grow, which has led to a huge increase in news coverage, social media and participation from the public events, such as the Fire Truck Pull, Over the Edge and Cops on Top fundraisers.
Outside of devoting his time to SOTX, Carlos holds a position within a government agency, which comes with a demanding schedule. When asked how he has time to volunteer, he said, “You make the time. The schedule of events is sent out in advance, so I plan for it and take the time off work.”
Carlos wants others to experience the joy he has come to love throughout his years of volunteering.
“I highly recommend it,” Carlos said. “If you’re hesitant, take some friends with you because it’s a lot of fun to volunteer with a group, and contact your local SOTX office to see what you can do.”
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