Last week we invited volunteers back to HOPE to celebrate 20 years of service in Knoxville. We made gift bags, provided cookies and cake, and offered tours of the building for those that hadn’t visited in a while. The impact HOPE has had on over 25,000 patients would never have happened without the countless sacrificial hours of the volunteer.

Our staff has faced changes, our wall colors have been made anew, our services have expanded, but one thing has remained a constant at HOPE and that is you, the volunteer! We would have never found success without the help of selfless, loving people that chose to stand when others chose to sit.

There is a mom in our city today hugging on her daughter because you mentored them, there is a dad in our city today raising up his son because you took the time to stand for them, and there are babies in our city today that have an opportunity in life because you decided that sitting on the sidelines would never be acceptable.

These examples are not arbitrary truths. I do not throw these out to humor you or to patronize. I give these examples to show our gratitude. Our work is dependent on the support of others. This support comes in a lot of forms, but every voluntary act makes an eternal difference in the lives of many.

I pray my words don’t ring hollow. I pray my words would reach the ears of those that, over the last 20 years, made a conscience decision to act and stand for life. You acted even as the culture around you attempted to protest and silence those that would dare say life in the womb should be valued.

We were not called to this work to paddle with the current of our society. We were called into this work to go upstream and offer a life raft to those that were drowning around us. You knew this and still joined us! This work is messy and hard at times, but the work is possible because of you.

I cannot begin to put into the words our appreciation for you. A day, a gift, and a letter won’t do, but we want the world to know about the lasting and eternal impact you had on our clinic, our staff, and our patients. You may not receive the accolades on this side of heaven but one day it will be said of you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

posted by Andrew Wood, Executive Director of Hope Resource Center