Lynch earns outstanding service award for volunteer efforts
Andrew Lynch, a senior in electrical engineering, has been devoting much of his time to the Fargo Salvation Army the past two years. His service has helped the Salvation Army expand their flood relief service to 4,600 square miles, and has led to Lynch earning the 2011 Sarah Martinsen Outstanding Service Award from the NDSU Volunteer Network.
Lynch’s first contact with the Salvation Army was during the Fargo Flood of 2009, when he helped serve food at the city’s main sandbag filling location. Through that and an interest in amateur radio, he became part of the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services team in 2010. As a team member, he is on call all year whenever a disaster strikes. He has helped at apartment fires in Fargo and tornado response in Wadena, Minn. He estimates he spends about 15 hours a week volunteering.
“I feel like every time I go and get in that truck and drive somewhere, I’m going to do some good,” he said. “Even if it’s just handing out cold water to a firefighter or comforting a victim watching their house go up.”
During the 2011 flood, he helped the Salvation Army response by incorporating Google Earth into the operation. He used it to track flooded roads and key positions that needed Salvation Army mobile canteens. Lynch also devised a text messaging system to send information to the teams, eliminating the need for costly pagers.
“Lynch has been a huge asset to us,” said Steve Carbno, disaster services coordinator for the Fargo Salvation Army in a press release. “And that’s just the tech side of it. He has such a compassion for helping in any disaster we respond to. When there’s a fire, you can tell he’s genuinely hurting with the family. We don’t see guys like him come around often. It’s phenomenal to watch.”
Lynch says he has always been into computers, whether taking them apart or putting them back together. His love of technology helped him put together a communication pack which houses different radio devices so no matter the emergency, the mobile units can keep in contact with home base.
Lynch has already lined up a job in the Fargo-Moorhead area for after graduation, and plans to continue volunteering for the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army nominated Lynch for the Sarah Martinsen Outstanding Services Award. Martinsen was a junior at NDSU on her first Pay it Forward Tour when she passed away in Pensacola, Fla. on March 16, 2010. The NDSU Volunteer Network has made a commitment to remember Martinsen with this special annual award. The Martinsen family provided a gift of $600 to Lynch for the award. This was the second year of the award at NDSU.
The Volunteer Network helps students find service opportunities in Fargo-Moorhead and surrounding communities. They recorded more than 30,000 hours of service from NDSU students and groups for the 2010-11 academic year. Each year, the top athletic team, Greek chapter, student organization and residence life group are recognized for their service. This year’s challenge winners were the NDSU football team with 700 hours of service, the Habitat for Humanity student group with 600 hours of service, Kappa Alpha Theta with 2,500 hours of service, and Weible Hall with 1,500 hours of service.
The awards were sponsored by the Dakota Medical Foundation, the Impact Foundation and FirstLink. The Dakota Medical Foundation also gave each organization a check for $500 for the nonprofit of their choice.
For more information on the Sarah Martinsen Outstanding Service Award or the Volunteer Network, visit www.ndsu.edu/mu/programs/volunteer_network/