The first time Gene Almendinger came to volunteer for a pledge drive at Arizona PBS, it was his wife’s idea.
He enjoyed getting to see behind the scenes. “It was interesting to see how the cameras worked and how they moved around,” he says. “I liked the gadgetry part of it.” (Gene’s a retired engineer.)
That was in 1987, and Gene has been volunteering at Arizona PBS ever since. Besides staffing pledge drives and working on a variety of special projects over the years, he also serves as a tour guide. These days, Gene is the one helping new visitors get a peek behind the scenes.
Gene said he also likes the camaraderie that forms between volunteers. “It helps you get out and give back to the community in a volunteer effort. You meet all kinds of people from all walks of life. And it’s a lot of fun.”
On one memorable tour, Gene brought a young tour group into the green room where they had an opportunity to chat with Gwen Ifill of the PBS NewsHour, who was here as part of a pledge drive. “She’s no longer with us, unfortunately, but she was the most personable person,” Gene says. “The kids could ask her anything. That really stands out.”
Gene says that he has kept volunteering through the years because he enjoys it, and also because he believes in the mission of Arizona PBS.
“I’m a firm believer in education,” he says, “and PBS, particularly here in Arizona, is playing a very important role in what education our youth are getting through the school system.”
Volunteer at Arizona PBS!
Join Gene and become part of the volunteer community at Arizona PBS! The Volunteer Friends of Arizona PBS are a diverse group who share their time and talents in service of public broadcasting. Find more information here.