VENEDOCIA — Volunteering isn’t as much about giving of himself for Dominic Adkins as you might think.
No, the Spencerville senior and Jefferson Awards winner acknowledges he gets quite a bit out of his various volunteer efforts through the Boy Scouts, his church and whenever else the busy 19-year-old gets the chance.
“My motivation comes from just seeing the joy in people, the fact they’re appreciative,” Adkins said. “It’s the excitement people give me once I’m done helping them. … I enjoy seeing them be genuinely appreciative to have someone help them, especially a youth.”
Adkins is one of the 12 local Jefferson Awards winners, and he’s one of the four youth winners. For the win, each received money to donate to a favorite cause. The Lima News will profile each of them between now and the streaming awards show the night of Thursday, April 22.
One of Adkins’s most long-lasting contributions was in helping build a veterans memorial park in Venedocia as his Eagle Scout project. Through his combined effort with local leader John Lloyd, the community has a freshly restored and painted artillery piece and a monument to remember those who served in the military from the community.
“The neat part is this Mr. John Lloyd, whose dream it was to see this memorial park made in Venedocia, lived to see this happen,” said Linda Meyer, of Wapakoneta, who nominated Adkins for the Jefferson Awards. “Dominic persevered. He lives by the Boy Scout oath: ‘Do a good turn daily.’ He helps people whenever he can.”
Adkins said he learned the value of helping people from his grandfather, Herman Wienken. His grandfather was well-known in his area for sharing food from his garden, pulling people out of ditches in the winter or just knowing the right time to plant in the spring. When his grandfather died, Adkins and his brother took over working in his farming operation.
“We used to go and deliver food from our family garden, and people were really appreciative,” Adkins said. “It meant a lot to him. That’s how I carry that into other activities. These people truly enjoy having you there helping them.”
Adkins is also a valuable member of the Salem Presbyterian Church family, Pastor Thomas Emery said.
“I think very highly of him,” Emery said. “Whenever the church needed money, he helped us find a way.”
Emery recalled Adkins leading a group of youth in taking 5-gallon buckets into fields after plowing to retrieve rocks from them, a task many farmers hate to do but needs done. They’d also sweep village streets to raise money for the church, whether it was to buy Christmas gifts for needy families or raise money for other church prizes.
The key for Adkins, he said, was it never feels like work when he’s helping. That’s why he finds time in the midst of a busy schedule of school, sports and other activities.
“Volunteering is more of a passion,” Adkins said. “It’s more of a motivation you have. Volunteering doesn’t have to be something you don’t like. It can be something you love going out and doing, as long as you’re going out and make the community a better place.”