Spotlight on Give A Mile Volunteer – Dan Godsell

Give A Mile is 100% run by volunteers, so we are incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing group of people on our team. It is our privilege to highlight our volunteer group, sharing the stories from some wonderful people that help us provide flights for families.Today we are excited to shine the spotlight on Dan Godsell, a long time volunteer and fierce supporter of the GAM cause who, like many of us here, spearheads a few different areas. The diversity of his skills and dedication to the cause make him a fantastic member of our GAM team!

  1. Explain your volunteer position.
  2. Like many at GAM, I wear a few hats. My main focus is leading corporate fundraising, but I also help with Flight Hero coaching efforts (supporting our wonderful Flight Heroes), assist with Give a Mile growth strategies, and sit on the board.

  3. When did you join Give a Mile?
  4. It will be 7 years in April! I joined the Team in 2015 shortly after hearing about it.

  5. Why did you decide to volunteer for the organization?
  6. The cause resonated with me for several reasons and was an “aha” moment that I could not wait to contribute towards. Using (typically) unused loyalty points to Give Back just makes a ton of sense. Seeing the impact of these flights on families made it an easy choice.

  7. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your volunteer position?
  8. Undoubtedly – seeing the positive impact. Every story is unique, sometimes heroic in the sense that people are incredibly strong and helping facilitate a goodbye in a situation where it may not have happened is something you cannot place value on. 700+ families connected, who may have not had that opportunity, means the most to me.
    I am incredibly fortunate to be a part of Give a Mile and would highly recommend anyone who has an interest in “giving back” to reach out to us. We are always looking for good volunteers!

  9. Please describe your most memorable experience from your time with Give a Mile.
  10. Several years ago, one of our Flight Recipients called me “out of the blue” to tell me her story and ask for help. I was in the middle of a busy, stressful workday. After listening to her for 5-10 minutes, nothing that had been causing stress that day mattered. It was a realization that the stress of that day/week/month/ (life, really!) was insignificant and not worthy of my time.
    That changed how I looked at “time” forever.
    She was a wonderful human being who we were able to connect with her father before he passed. She was also battling cancer at the time. Weeks later, I got a letter in the mail – a thank you note along with a small charm (angel wings). She had passed, and the charm is still on my keychain today as a reminder.

  11. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen over your time with the organization?
  12. Wow, so much has changed over the years! When I first started were a much smaller team – there were a handful of volunteers and a few consistent contributors. I believe Kevin was about a year into the effort. We were focused on building relationships within the local Calgary community and connecting to palliative networks across the country. The “heart” and passion of our volunteer team at Give a Mile felt the same – though we had more of a “scrappy start-up” feel to what we were trying to accomplish. Over the years many things have matured – our technology, including our improved donation flow new website have been big accomplishments. Our amazing Volunteer and Leadership Team is now very strong which is important as we poise for scale in the coming year(s). We are now multi-national! We have always provided flights globally (10-20% approx), but our official expansion into the US as a registered not-for-profit was also a big, exciting accomplishment.
    Most importantly, we have given away 790+ flights during this time – going from 20+ annual flights donated to 150+ is significant, though I’m confident it will look less significant in the years to come as we continue to grow and have more positive impact!

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