Elizabeth Vigue serves as the president of the Fisher Catholic High School Interact Club, which facilitates service projects and participates in service to the community and the environment as well as international service projects. Read below to learn what service means to her.
Service to others is important because it allows us to make a positive impact on the world and help those who need it, but also lets us to reflect on our inner-selves. Matthew 10:8 gives us a great call to serve others: “Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give.” Through service, we are able to spread Jesus’ love more fully.
Jim Killoran is the executive director and CEO of the Habitat for Humanity of Westchester, New York. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Killoran on a work trip to New Rochelle, New York, during spring break of 2018. The trip, which was facilitated by the Interact Club at Fisher Catholic, lasted for one week. During that week, our group was there to do whatever Mr. Killoran and the other wonderful people at Habitat needed us to do. I had heard a lot about Mr. Killoran (who insisted we call him Jim) from others who had been on the trip in past years, but I had no idea about how much he would teach me about service and caring for others.
Jim is an incredibly lively and selfless person. He has spent many tireless hours participating in anything from hurricane relief to providing decent homes and furniture to those in need. Jim goes above and beyond the job description as CEO of Habitat. I remember first meeting Jim and standing in his office while he was showing us a picture of when he met President George Bush. We were all so amazed that he met a president! Jim saw that we were impressed and he said “all of you wonderful people are just as important as he is.”
Jim sees everyone he meets as a true equal. Oftentimes at work sites, Jim would say “If everyone who claims they love God picked up a hammer and worked for one hour, homelessness could be solved in one day.” By this, Jim is emphasizing how as Christians and Catholics, our words and beliefs need to be in accordance with our actions. One of his mottos is ‘NMU,’ which stands for ‘No More Ugly.’ Jim explained that economic decline in neighborhoods is directly related to the physical state of the neighborhood. I also took this motto to mean that ugly thoughts, words, and actions have no place in this world.
Another one of Jim’s mottos which refers to providing decent housing for low income families is “It’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up!” Oftentimes in society, people view service and helping others as giving them a hand out, rather than making them work for what they want. Jim taught me that because we are all brothers and sisters in God, we should help each other and try to give each other a hand up to get back on their feet. Jim referred to everyone as “son,” “daughter,” “brother,” or “sister.” Jim is the very personification of leadership, Christlikeness, and service.
Jim taught me, and continues to teach everyone he meets, the importance of being a servant to God and to the community. After meeting Jim, I have decided to live a life dedicated to service and to God, and to encourage others to treat everyone as a brother or sister. Just like Jim, I pledge to try to fix problems in my community when I see them, in hopes of helping the community continue to thrive together. I hope to embody the grace and generosity that makes Jim such a strong and kind man.