The United States Postal Service recently delivered a surprise to Dan Groenendyk, a member of Providence Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich.
Dan Groenendyk received the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
“I open up the mail and there’s a letter from the White House,” said Groenendyk.
Groenendyk, 50, was given a President’s Volunteer Service Award, which honors citizens who contribute significant hours volunteering in their communities.
Groenendyk put in 249 hours of volunteer service with the United States Coast Guard Academy over the span of one year.
“I didn’t really see that coming,” he said of the award, which includes a certificate, a letter from the President, and a medal.
From fall through spring, Groenendyk serves as a Coast Guard Academy admission partner in West Michigan. He helps high school students apply for the Coast Guard Academy and also attends local congressional events as the academy’s point of contact.
A U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary member since 2009, Groenendyk also spends many hours throughout the boating season teaching classes on recreational boat safety, performing vessel exams, and working on patrol boats and at area Coast Guard stations. He serves as the unit coordinator for the Auxiliary, which is the volunteer arm of the Coast Guard.
Groenendyk, who holds a master’s degree in education, particularly enjoys the teaching aspect of his volunteer work. “I really enjoy being on the water during the summer and getting experience on the Coast Guard boat and then bringing into the classroom . . . [these] real-life examples of the things I’m trying to teach.”
A former Marine, Groenendyk became interested in the Auxiliary when he bought a boat for the first time and took the kind of class he now teaches.
“I just really enjoy the opportunity to wear the Coast Guard uniform and serve the community,” he said.