After a career in construction, David Fick discovered Dyess We Care in 2019 after the organization’s director spoke at his U.S. Air Force base. It was a moment where his construction and practical skills matched the organization’s needs to fix homes for the elderly and people with disabilities, and he just said yes.
David now serves as the DWCT project manager and has helped with 45 community service projects, 13 of which he led. He relentlessly volunteers his time to restore homes in his community in addition to helping raise thousands of dollars.
Describe your volunteer role with Dyess We Care.
I got to my Air Force base with Dustin Brooks at the same time, and we both went to what they call a first team airman class where we’re taught about what we should expect about our start at base. One of the things that we do there is hear from volunteer organizations about what they do and when they have volunteer opportunities. The director of the Dyess We Care team spoke to our class and both Dustin and I thought that this kind of service was something that we could do.
I used to be in construction, so I thought that I had the primary skills they were looking for to help fix up homes for the elderly, people with disabilities, veterans and other people who can’t really do that stuff on their own. Whatever the situation may be, there’s always something that prevents someone from being able to help themselves. So when I heard the director’s pitch, it sounded excellent and I knew I could do it. I messaged him right away and said that I’d love an opportunity to lead a project — which was what I found myself doing a couple of months later. Projects can take a couple of days to months, it really just depends on the need.
All of this was three and a half years ago now, and since then I’ve led several projects and I’m usually volunteering every weekend. Now I’m the project manager for DWCT. I track all of the incoming projects, organize them and then try to put together a package of viable options and people.
How has your volunteerism grown at DWCT?
It started out simple, just showing up and helping with projects. I got my hands dirty going out there and doing work. Then I became a project leader for more projects, and over time, I asked myself what else I could do. So I became inventory manager and eventually took on this role after the former person who held my position moved to New York. She was a great mentor and friend, so there’s no greater privilege that I could have had then to take over that position and carry the torch. My role has grown significantly from being the guy who just kind of showed up. It’s been a journey for sure.
Do you have a favorite memory as a DWCT volunteer?
The first project I led was a special case where we had a lot to do. We poured into it and worked on it for nearly two months. We nearly renovated the entire home and it was really, really special. The homeowner was a medically retired worker for the state after 36 years and she lived in that home for 62 years. She was born and raised in that home, so to be able to bring it back to life for her was special; knowing that she would never have to leave.
What inspires you to volunteer?
When I joined the Air Force, I already had a good career, house and everything else. I traveled with my friends before to India, Cambodia and Thailand, and I saw people who didn’t choose the course of life that they were on. And one of the greatest privileges that we have in the United States is that we can truly choose what we want to do. You can stop what you’re doing any day, and pick up something different. Not everybody has that opportunity, but I did at the time and I wanted to do something different. I was in construction, my life just brought me there, and I dedicated my time to the Air Force. I had a “yes-man” attitude and I wanted to help, so that’s what I did that day when the DWCT director came in — I said yes.
I really don’t know of another organization like this. We’re one of a kind, and if I can take it with me somewhere, then that would be fantastic. We can spread this to some other part of the world.
What have you learned through your experience as a volunteer?
I’ve learned that most everybody that comes out is here to help and that maybe they’re helping because somebody has helped them in the past. So we’re all just trying to return that favor into the world. I traveled a bit before the Air Force, and I’ve seen that a lot of people don’t have much. So it’s been nice to be able to make change and do something for people who just can’t do it themselves. The gratitude that most people express when you’re there is so rewarding. At the end of the day, I’m happy that we help others find a little more happiness and it’s always better to give.
Why is it important for others to get involved?
If people are thinking about volunteering, just do it, there’s not a reason not to. Most of the time, these volunteer projects are just a few hours of your time. It’s a great way to start your day. Not only do this for yourself, but do it for other people. Plus, it’ll make you grow as a person and leader. If you carry that volunteerism energy, more people will join in.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like David? Find local volunteer opportunities.