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Carol Seidl is volunteer of the month

Volunteer Carol Seidl, right, is pictured with Linda Walker, her supervisor at the Fort Lewis Thrift Store. Walker nominated Seidl for the honor because of Seidl’s more than a decade of volunteering. (JBLM PAO photo)

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You’ve likely seen her, if you’ve been to the Fort Lewis Thrift Store on Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the past decade. She spends her volunteer hours sorting clothing, testing small electronics, putting items out on the floor, recycling books, helping patrons find items and doing dozens of other chores.

“That’s what a volunteer is all about; I’m nothing special, all the volunteers do the same thing,” said Carol Seidl, who has been a volunteer at the thrift store for 10 years. “I come in, do my work and love being here.”

Seidl is the February Volunteer of the Month for JBLM. Each month, the base honors one of its volunteers from the about 300 nonprofit groups on and affiliated with the base.

The honor is somewhat random but was based on the input of charity organizers and staff, including Linda Walker. She nominated Seidl for consideration by Lori Parker, JBLM Installation Volunteer Corps program manager, Armed Forces Community Service.

Walker said she was at a recent Volunteer Action Council quarterly meeting when she and other attendees were asked to suggest a volunteer for a bit of recognition.

“Your name came to mind immediately,” Walker told Seidl when she revealed the honor on a recent Wednesday afternoon.

Each volunteer selected for the honor receives a certificate and a bag of goodies in appreciation for their activities and contributions, according to Parker.

“I’m in shock,” Seidl said, as she and Walker hugged.

Seidl lives in Graham, Wash., with her husband, John, who also is a longtime thrift store volunteer. The two have been volunteering on base at least one day each week for the past 10 years. Her 81-year-old mother, Beverley Welsh, of Eatonville, Wash., also has been a volunteer at the Fort Lewis Thrift store for more than a decade. Sister, Diana Myers, of Eatonville, previously volunteered at the store on base.

The family became involved at JBLM because of a lifetime of military involvement, Carol said. Her late father, Clarence Welsh, was a retired Army Soldier. He died in 1999.

Carol was born at the former Fort Lawton, in Seattle. She and her five siblings grew up as Army kids, moving from base to base. The family moved for a while to Fort Lee, Va., and also spent time in Germany. She graduated from Auburn High School, in Auburn, Wash., in 1971 — a few years after her father returned from service in Vietnam.

Carol has been working primarily in food service all of her adult life and met her husband while she was working at a restaurant in Burien, Wash. The couple has been married for 37 years. John is a retired nurseryman and the couple enjoys spending time and gardening on their five-acre home site.

She also enjoys baking and cooking, and the couple enjoys a family vacation to Reno annually. Carol also works several days each week at a food service cart she owns at Emerald Downs, in Auburn.

As for her volunteer job: “I love it and the (other volunteers) I work with,” she said. “I’m working in donations today, but I do whatever Linda (Walker) needs me to do. Whatever needs to be done.”

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