TOP PHOTO: Campbell County Youth Volunteer of the Year Landyn Ford guest spoke at the South Campbell County Rotary Club luncheon on Tuesday.
By Charlotte Underwood
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Campbell County’s Youth Volunteer of the Year Landyn Ford guest spoke at the South Campbell County Rotary Club luncheon on Tuesday at the LaFollette United Methodist Church. Ford currently serves as the Volunteer Coordinator Specialist at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, organizing volunteers and coordinating the program that he started working in 2017.
According to Ford, of Jacksboro, he started his volunteer journey in high school at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in the VolunTeen Program. During his time in high school he also dedicated his time and efforts to Alzheimer’s Tennessee by participating in its fundraising and outreach events eventually being awarded the Top Fundraiser award among five other counties. During his first semester at the University of Tennessee, he was given the opportunity to take on the role as a cuddler in the Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which is something he still does. Ford also helped in other Children’s Hospital events such as Fantasy of Trees, Butterfly Dash and Burger Bash, and One Unforgettable Night. During his freshman year at the University of Tennessee, he was also asked to help oversee the VolunTeen Leadership Council at the hospital. In this role, he assisted with organizing fundraisers and outreach events for the VolunTeens. Now as the Volunteer Coordinator Specialist, Ford coordinates that same program that gave him his start.
“God works in mysterious ways,” Ford told Rotarians as he described his journey to his current position as being “through God.”
He said his ultimate goal is to become the “next president and CEO of the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.”
He spoke to Rotarians about the importance of non profits, as well as civic organizations like Rotary Club in supporting the hospital and other community outreach projects like the Caryville Cares Playground, which he is also a part of.
“We need to support our non profit organizations. They encourage positive changes for everyone and strengthen the fabric of our very communities,” Ford said, adding that non profit organizations were “essential” for communities to suceed and thrive.
He also encouraged community leaders to support area youth who are the future leaders of the community.
“We need to use our God given talents to mentor the youth. Each student in Campbell County has the potential to follow in our footsteps and create their own. We need to start these mentorship programs,” Ford said.
He closed by telling Rotarians to “share their grit.”
“For me that grit is spiritual; God is my grit. Share your stories of grit, it does wonders for young people,” Ford said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/04/2023-6AM)