MILLEDGEVILLE — Barrett Roell has dedicated nearly 750 hours to volunteerism activities and initiatives throughout the Georgia College campus and the local community in just the past two years. His selfless endeavors recently got him recognized locally and nationally as the recipient of the National Daily Point of Light Award.
“I just enjoy giving back,” the 21 year-old said. “It makes me feel awesome to know that I’m making a difference in the lives of other people.”
Created by the administration of Pres. George H. W. Bush, the Daily Point of Light Award honors individuals and groups creating meaningful change in communities across America. Each weekday, one volunteer or volunteer effort is recognized with the Daily Point of Light Award. Roell was distinguished as the volunteer for the day on Oct. 31, making him the ninth Georgia College recipient of the award.
“I’m extremely proud to receive this award. It’s awesome to get recognized for the volunteer work I do and what I get out of it,” Roell said. “There’s always a need in the Milledgeville area. I have to take advantage of my time to help people as much as I can.”
Originally from Houston, Texas, Roell’s passion for giving back dates back to his childhood years when he and his mother planted seedlings in their neighborhood for Arbor Day. The Roell family moved to Suwanee, Ga. when Barrett was in the sixth grade.
“I was heavily involved in Keep Forsyth County Beautiful as a senior in high school. When I originally went to Gainesville State College, I started donating blood, so when I came to Georgia College in August 2011 as a sophomore, I wanted to get more involved in blood drives,” he said. “The first thing I did was find the GIVE Center.”
Roell has served as president and coordinator of the American Red Cross blood drives at Georgia College since April 2012. He conducted the largest, most comprehensive marketing campaign for the blood drive ever launched on the Georgia College campus. His tremendous success with increasing the number of blood units collected also earned him the 2012 Youth Volunteer of the Year Award by Hands On Milledgeville.
“When I began coordinating the blood drive, it started growing a good bit. In the May drive of 2012, we got 202 units donated,” he said. “In August of last year we got 258, which is 140 more than the year before; that’s the best drive they’ve seen at Georgia College.”
He also keeps busy as the president of The GIVE Team, leadership manager at The GIVE Center, and as a member of the homecoming marketing committee and quality enhancement plan communications committee.
“I volunteered with the Salvation Army mostly in my junior year. I volunteer with Have A Heart, Save A Life and I work at T-Bone’s Nursery and at Sonic,” Roell said of his busy schedule. “For the most part, I cut out sleep. I’m taking 18 hours this semester, so I find it difficult to juggle sometimes, but giving back to the community is such a big thing for me, so I just adjust my schedule to make it happen.”
Roell was also distinguished as the “Unsung Hero” at Georgia College last year for his significant contributions on campus. He received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for volunteering more than 250 hours in 2012, and anticipates earning the award again this year.
Roell is in the midst of preparing for the upcoming American Red Cross blood drive slated from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, and from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Magnolia Ballroom. Donors are encouraged to make an appointment at www.redcrossblood.org using the sponsor code GCSU.
“Our goal is to collect 404 units of blood,” he said. “Reaching our goal would put us as the second largest blood drive in the state, putting us behind the Atlanta Braves.”
As he currently studies to complete his senior management marketing major at Georgia College, he is on track to graduate in May 2014. Roell hopes to pursue a career in outside sales in his home state of Texas while continuing to devote time to his love for helping others.
“Volunteering is such a big part of me. The need to give blood is constant, and I always try to encourage people to donate. I can assure you that there will be a blood drive wherever I end up going if they don’t already have one,” he said. “I will bring the volunteerism I’ve embodied at Georgia College with me wherever I go.”
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