March, 2011
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Why I Volunteer

PAUL STARON

"The service you do for others is the rent you pay for the time you spend on earth."  — Mohammed Ali

It was a great honor to be awarded the 2010 Iron Man Award at InspectionWorld. Because this award acknowledges my volunteer efforts in our association, I have been asked to take a moment to reflect on why I volunteer. The question is two-fold, really: Why do I volunteer and why do I volunteer for ASHI?

Award-Ironman.jpg
Photo above: Paul Staron was presented with the Ironman Award at InspectionWorld Atlanta in January.

Lifestyle: Volunteering is part of our lifestyle for our entire family. It's Saturday and my son is with his scout troop on a food drive, my wife and daughter are volunteering for a local animal shelter, finding homes for puppies, as I sit here, with an ASHI Reporter deadline looming above me, hoping they don't bring home a puppy. Jeanne and I have raised our kids to look for ways to give back: to our community, church or local groups where we believe our skills and interests make good use of our efforts. It's part of who we are.

The Journey:
I believe we all have special skills and one of the ways to use them is to become involved. For me, that was helping the Arizona ASHI chapter with public relations in 1996. I quickly realized I was working with some of the best inspectors in the area, and it allowed me to be a part of something bigger: a local brotherhood with a national presence. As I rose through the ranks of chapter leadership, each position, including board member and president, provided its own set of challenges and rewards. During this time, I also began serving on the national Public Relations Committee. This experience was fascinating and provided me with an entirely new perspective. I began to work on goals that benefit ALL ASHI members, and I learned how the national ASHI organization works cooperatively. From chairing the PR committee to my current term on the Board of Directors, it has been a pleasure to serve with such high-caliber professionals.

ASHI: The home inspection profession still is young, but maturing. As this development continues, we have the unique opportunity to act as a positive influence and help shape our profession for the better. At a recent ASHI Board of Directors planning session, we discussed why we were there, right there, in that room, that day. Many of the responses carried a similar theme: making a difference, giving back to the profession, personal satisfaction and so on. I also added working with friends. Like many home inspectors, I work alone, and I find that the opportunity to volunteer my time with high-quality professionals on a common goal seems to fulfill some innate need for self-expression and personal growth. I have had the privilege of meeting some amazing people, not just in Arizona, but from across the country and Canada. Great friendships I wouldn't have had, had I not volunteered with ASHI. And sometimes, for me, it's just fun. It's fun to work together on a common goal and gain a different perspective.

To be with the best in the business is a good reason to join ASHI. To work with the best in the business is a good reason why you volunteer with ASHI. It allows you to be a part of something bigger, to give back something to a profession that's been good to you and to provide you with opportunities to grow as a person. I challenge you all to look at ways you could volunteer for your local ASHI chapter and be part of the local presence. And when you are ready for the national perspective, there are a variety of national committees to choose from (volunteer form on www.ASHI.org). Our membership includes many talented and successful individuals. Commit to giving a couple of hours per week and be a part of making ASHI even better.

 I cannot articulate all the benefits I've received from volunteer work with ASHI. My 17-year home inspection career would not be as fulfilling and successful had it not been for my ASHI involvement. While I didn't join ASHI to get business, I've been fortunate to get many referrals from other inspectors, including some lasting, long-term friendships from my follow Arizona inspectors and national leaders. It is true that the more you give, the more you get back. A quote about volunteer service helps sum it up for me:

"Make service your first priority, not success, and success will follow."

Editor's note: While serving as an ASHI director, Staron has championed and contributed to ASHI achieving status as a certifying body and adopting the two new ancillary inspection standards — both major initiatives that represent an investment in ASHI's future.

Are you interested in volunteering for ASHI?
• Watch for the annual Call for Volunteers in September for the opportunity to serve on an ASHI committee. Help shape ASHI's future and give back to your profession.

• Consider authoring an article for the ASHI Reporter. E-mail Sandy Bourseau at sandyb@ashi.org.

• Get involved with your local chapter. From serving on the board or a committee to participating in community volunteer efforts with the chapter, there are many ways to serve.

• Present at InspectionWorld. If you have an idea for a presentation, fill out and submit the Call for Presentations for 2012. Find the form here:
www.inspectionworld.org/04presentations.html.