​Volunteer Spotlight: Blumling on Finding Her Place as a Key Volunteer

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Susan “Susie” Blumling has a kind and true heart. As an English Special Education teacher and case manager for Special Ed students at Potomac Senior High School, Blumling steadfastly works to guide her students through high school and onto receiving diplomas.

She brings the same passion to her volunteer work at the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and during her eight-year tenure with the MCM Organization has been honored twice as the MCM Volunteer of the Year.

Here is a small glimpse into what makes Blumling a remarkable volunteer.

Do you volunteer with other organizations?
I help at my church when I am needed, but the MCM Organization is the only formal organization with which I volunteer.

Why is volunteering important to you?
Volunteering is important to me because I enjoy being a small part of a huge undertaking. It is exciting to participate in an event as a volunteer. Being around motivated and positive people, both staff and runners, is in itself a great experience.

What is challenging about volunteering?
I have a clear philosophy of volunteering that is the underpinning of all that I do and say. This personal belief is that the individual in front of me is the most important person in all the world. He or she is the one person with whom I am speaking and has my complete attention. A runner’s needs or concerns are the only ones that I am to address at that moment. The challenge of volunteering is keeping that at the forefront of my mind. Runners need my full focus, need to know they are being heard and need to be met with kindness, as if they are the only people in the world.

What is your most vivid memory from your time as a Marine Corps Marathon volunteer?
My most vivid memory is from eight years ago when I walked into the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference seeking a volunteer position at the Historic Half. The first person I met was Mr. Rick Nealis, the Director of the Marine Corps Marathon Organization. I explained to him that I had tried to sign up to volunteer but did not know how. Mr. Nealis, with his ubiquitous warmth and smile, welcomed me, found a place for me to work and introduced me to the MCM Charity Partner Coordinator, Allan Aquino, who shared details with me about the Key Volunteer program that allows volunteers to work all MCM events throughout the year. I found my place that day as a Key Volunteer with MCM because of that fortuitous moment when Mr. Nealis so warmly welcomed me, listened to me and welcomed me as if I were the most important person in the world.

Why should more people consider volunteering with the Marine Corps Marathon?
People should volunteer with MCM because it is the most efficient and organized place to volunteer. It will give you a sense of security knowing that your area of volunteering is extremely well-planned, and that your personal safety has priority at all times. You will be pleased to know that when you sign up to volunteer, your commitment to work in that area is taken seriously. You will be counted on to be there that day. The time and effort that you contribute and the commitment that you make to volunteer are very much appreciated by the entire staff of the MCMO. This is such a great feeling, and one that you will always carry with you.

Are you ready to follow in Blumling’s footsteps as a Key Volunteer? Stand and be recognized for your hard work here: https://www.marinemarathon.com/events/marathon/registration/volunteer.