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National Volunteer Week Q&A – Heather Sawyer

The NASCAR Foundation is celebrating National Volunteer Week on April 15-22, 2018 by recognizing members of our very own volunteer family!

Heather Sawyer is a NASCAR Foundation Employee Ambassador that helps spread the word about the Foundation to fellow NASCAR employees.

1. What were you looking to get out of this experience as a NASCAR Foundation Employee Ambassador?

As a working mother, my days are spent at the office and my evenings are spent shuttling my daughter to activities.  My opportunities to volunteer are limited to opportunities presented at work or with my daughter’s activities.  Working with the NASCAR Foundation allows me a few opportunities each year to give back to the community.  This is also why I have chaired the Father-Daughter dance when my daughter was in elementary school. I teach faith formation at my church since I’d be there taking my daughter to her class anyway and also why I participate in the parent recital dance at my daughter’s dance school to help promote their program.

2.What inspires you most when volunteering for a non-profit like The NASCAR Foundation?

Children.  I’m blessed with a healthy child.  I’m incredibly grateful for that blessing and want to do anything I can to help the children that are not as fortunate and to help relieve the stress and helpless feeling their parents must be experiencing.  What most people don’t know is that I was considered very premature for the time I was born and my parents had married very young and started their family a few short years later.  I can’t imagine the stress they felt as a young, fairly poor family not knowing if their first child would live or be able to live a “normal” life—the doctors were not very encouraging.   Healthcare costs were very different then, but they carefully watched that hospital bill creep up.  Of course, back then once the bill reached $10,000 the hospital cancelled the debt.  Can you imagine $10,000 being an excessive medical bill in today’s world?!?

3. What was your most memorable experience as a NASCAR Foundation Employee Ambassador?

I loved visiting the children’s hospital.  Fortunately, the children’s hospital was not full the day we went, but it was nice to spend a few minutes with the children we did see and give them an opportunity to have someone other than a doctor or nurse come through their door.

4. Why is volunteering with a non-profit that helps support children important to you?

I have always loved children.  Shortly before my college graduation, I reconsidered my career choice and considered switching my major to education.  But the thought of a few more years of college loans put me back on track for graduation.  Now that I have a child of my own, I’m not sure teaching would’ve been a good option for me.  So, I volunteer, in small doses, at school and church instead.  When I was a teenager, my cousin was born as a micro-preemie and visiting her in the NICU had me considering a career as a neonatologist.  But I do not have the stomach for medicine and I would not be able to handle losing any patients.  When I retire, I plan on volunteering at the hospital to rock the babies that have parents that are unable to stay with them.  Working with the NASCAR Foundation as an Employee Ambassador ensures that I’m in the know with opportunities to support children while at work too.