Medical volunteer Andrew Niemann is incredibly busy on event morning setting up tents to receive runners. He remains there to work with runners in need well after the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) is over. He admits event day can be long and tedious but says, “At the end of the day, I always feel that I at least made some calm out of chaos and look back with pride and some feeling of accomplishment. Then I say to myself, ‘okay, that was the last time.’ And then, I’m back the next year.”
After retiring from the Coast Guard, Niemann built an impressive volunteer resume. He fills his retirement covering per diem paramedic shifts, teaching the occasional first aid course and volunteering. He shared his experience as a volunteer with us.
Do you volunteer with other organizations?
With Team Rubicon, I serve as the Regional Finance Deputy. My volunteer work during disasters includes primarily chainsaw assignments and medical missions, the last of which was in Guatemala. I am a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol where I train cadets and a volunteer paramedic and driver with the Stafford County EMS (Aquia Harbor Station 9) and Warren Fire Department Rescue Squad in Rhode Island.
Why is volunteering important to you?
I do it because I enjoy it. I like working with the people, the challenges and making order out of chaos. I get to do a lot of things not always available to others.
What is challenging about volunteering?
The biggest challenge with volunteering is pacing myself and maintaining my certifications. Learning to work with others that may not have the right mindset to be doing what we do is also difficult.
What is your most vivid memory from your time as a Marine Corps Marathon volunteer?
One of my most vivid memories from the MCM is pushing a stretcher with a collapsed runner on it across the finish line so that she could at least say she crossed the line.
Why should more people consider volunteering with the Marine Corps Marathon?
It’s a learning experience for all levels of medical providers. It can be an eye opening experience, as well as something interesting to do. It’s one heck of a good talking point for a job application and of course, the free t-shirt!
Check out volunteering opportunities for the 2020 calendar.