AEO Building a Better World Volunteer of the Month: Jeff, Project Manager – Construction

AEO associates share our commitment to doing better, being better and building a better world. We’re proud to spotlight our people who are making a real and lasting impact in their communities.

Meet Jeff, a Project Manager on our Store Construction team and volunteer firefighter of eight years! A long-time believer in the importance of giving back to one’s community, Jeff hopes to show that the act of giving—no matter how big or small—can go a long way.

Tell us about your service as a volunteer firefighter!

People believe that being a firefighter is just about fighting fires, but there is so much more to it. You find yourself trying to be a person or voice when people are going through one of the worst scenarios imaginable, losing everything. You put hours in for events and other things that help the community – there is a lot of pride that comes with this.

Why is volunteering as a firefighter, and volunteering in general, important to you?

It’s always been important to me to try and give back to my community. I grew up watching people give back and said that when I got older, I would do the same. It’s not always easy giving up time with my family and friends, but seeing how my children are learning from all of it makes it special to me.

How many years have you been volunteering there? How many years have you regularly volunteered in your community? 

I have been a volunteer with my department for about eight years now. For the first three years I was a social volunteer, but after COVID I decided to be fully active and go through the full training. I have a lot of friends who are part of the fire department and always thought that if something were to happen to them and I wasn’t properly trained to help, it would stay with me forever. Seeing the response from the community when we do active events and the support we receive truly cannot be described.

How do you think that being an active participant in your community helps to Build a Better World?

I think that it shows people that even giving a little can go a long way– you don’t have to commit all of your free time to doing something big, you can start by doing something small. I think setting this example helps the next generation understand what they can do to help.

What are some of the benefits you have found in volunteering? What have you learned?

The friendships are probably the most important thing that I have learned through all of this. The relationships my family has made with other people in the department and community; the sense of togetherness and helping each other out is truly amazing. The skills of communication, empathy and decision making, among others, are valuable things learned along the way.