Last year, YVC lost one of our most passionate volunteers when longtime board member Don Sloan passed away. Founder and President David Battey, who was friends with Don for nearly 30 years, tells of his impact:
People often ask, “Who has volunteered the most hours with Youth Volunteer Corps?” I would then recount the several youth from various YVC programs who have tallied more than 1,000 hours of service. The other day, I realized that I was mistaken. There actually was a person I had overlooked. While this gentleman had never served as a Youth Volunteer, he had without a doubt volunteered more hours for YVC than anyone.
Don Sloan volunteered for YVC every single week from May of 1991 when he agreed to be a founding member of our national board until his passing in August of 2013. At just two hours per week (and that is conservative), Don volunteered at least 2,322 hours in support of YVC. That is a record that may never be broken.
With Don, it was never about the hours; it was about the impact. It was never about him; it was about moving the mission forward. Don was a retired accountant when he began his service with YVC. He could tell right away that this fledgling organization could use his help. YVC was young and entrepreneurial; we were going to change the world.
Don bought into that vision very quickly; he also realized it would never happen without more robust management and financial systems in place. As our first treasurer, Don put those systems in place. He allowed YVC to reach for the stars while keeping our feet firmly planted on the ground.
Because of his skill and dedication, Don went on to become YVC’s second national Board Chairman. He served in that capacity from 1995 until 2011. He continued to serve on the national Board until his passing.
True to his Iowa roots, Don was a workhorse. He was a man of the utmost integrity, a wonderful strategist, and very persistent. It was very hard to say no to Don Sloan. Don only asked if he truly believed in the impact and the integrity of the organization. Don’s more than two decades of service to YVC was the stamp of approval that people needed in order to say “Yes” to Don and “Yes” to the organization and Youth Volunteers he believed in so strongly.
Don always came to our national YVC conferences. His presence as our Board Chairman and chief volunteer was inspiring to the Youth Volunteers, Program Directors and national staff.
I’ll never forget the conference in Vero Beach, Florida, in September 1998. Not only did Don make the trek down to Florida, but he stayed for the entire three-day conference. We were so impressed at how hard Don worked at our physically demanding service project at a therapeutic riding school on what was a steamy late summer day in Florida. Don, in his unassuming way, was setting a wonderful example of servant leadership that all of us can only aspire to.
I miss his expert eye when reviewing business decisions and his unwavering dedication to YVC’s Youth Volunteers, but more than anything I miss his loyalty as a friend and mentor. Don’s impact to YVC will never be forgotten, and neither will his kindness and compassion as a friend.
Thanks to Don’s passion and dedication, more than 280,000 youth have made a difference through YVC since 1987, and countless more will continue living his legacy in years to come.
Written by David Battey, president and founder of YVC and longtime friend of Don Sloan
Every year Don’s legacy lives on through the Don and Jean Sloan Scholarship. Are you a YVC volunteer who is graduating from high school this year or a first-year college student? Apply for teh scholarship to carry on Don’s passion for youth service.