Volunteer Frank Siedman Looks Back at His Life and Wishes He Could Have
Frank Siedman became a volunteer because he wanted to do something that mattered. He found his cause in providing leadership, support and training to visually impaired individuals of all ages, from kids to seniors.
For being an extraordinary long-time volunteer, he received the Aging & Disability Resource Center Board of Directors Outstanding Leadership Award, during Area Agency on Aging’s 26th Annual Prime Time Awards Breakfast.
Frank’s story of his journey into volunteer work should serve as an inspiration to all of us.
Frank Siedman discovered the joy of volunteer work after getting a phone call from a friend suffering from a degenerative eye disease.
Would he join the board of directors of Lighthouse of the Big Bend in Tallahassee? Frank’s friend asked.
Until then, Frank, an engineer in his mid-60s, had never served on a nonprofit board and hadn’t done much community service.
Sure, Frank replied to his friend’s request.
It was his entry into a world of helping others -- a new chapter in his life that would define who he is for many years to come.
For nearly 30 years, Frank had been a consultant in the field of public utility rates, management and regulation, operating his own firm for the past 15 years. He was busy working and raising his family. He didn’t think much about giving back to his community.
“I learned later in life how much I love volunteering. Looking back, I just wish I could have done more of that kind of work earlier in my life,” he said.
After joining the Lighthouse board, Frank got more involved, eventually becoming the board’s president. He also joined the Lion’s Club which raised money and did service work to benefit people who are blind or visually impaired.
Later, he moved to North Palm Beach and stayed active in volunteering. He joined the board of directors of the Florida Outreach Center for the Blind in Palm Springs, where he has served for more than eight years, five of those as president.
During his tenure, he oversaw the annual fundraiser, Dining in the Dark, which creates the experience of a meal in a “blacked out” environment. He has pushed for the center to provide training and support to visually impaired individuals of all ages, from kids to seniors.
And Frank continued to stay active with the Lion’s Club, serving as member, president and zone chairman.
Asked why he became so committed to serving in the blind community, he said he found that to be his calling and he was drawn in with stories of adults, who became visually impaired and had gone through all the stages of grieving, as their vision vanished.
“I wanted to be a part of something that mattered,” he said. “I encourage everyone to go out and volunteer. It’s amazing how much you get out of it. Actually, you’ll get more of it than what you put in.”