Volunteer Spotlight: Alan Rice
You’ll often hear us say we are powered by volunteers. Alan Rice is one of those volunteers. Rice has helped power Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad with more than 10,000 volunteer hours – 11,000 in 11 years to be exact. He was selected the 2016 CVSR Volunteer of the Year.
Rice’s love for trains began early on in his life, like most children. In his youth, his father took him on several train rides, which captured his interest in riding trains and a fascination that has remained with him to this day.
“I knew railroads would be part of my life,” said Rice. “My father has since passed and every CVSR train I am on I know my father is with me.”
Rice and his wife, Patricia, learned about CVSR and decided to ride a scenic train from Rockside to Akron. “We were treated quite nicely by our car trainman. We learned CVSR was a volunteer organization and always looking for new members,” he said. “We learned there were monthly volunteer meetings, so we attended one.” The rest is history.
He enjoys the interaction with our guests, who come all over to experience a ride on our historic rail cars through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. “I relish interacting with people from all walks of life and learning about their life experiences and what we have in common,” said Rice.
It’s the children who make his volunteer time the best and witnessing their joy when riding our train. While many have left an impression on him, it was a young boy who would make an impact and be one of his favorite CVSR volunteer memories.
Rice made a lasting connection with a local family before a train ride a couple of years ago. “I saw a family sitting on the bench and told them the train was about to depart, and they needed to get boarded,” he said. “They advised their son, Jack, who loves trains, that they were just going to watch the train leave.”
Through small talk, he learned they not only lived in Mentor, the same town, but the same development and on the same street as his family. Since then, Jack, his sister, and his parents come over to his house and always bring a toy to share with Rice. “Without CVSR, this connection of families would have never happened,” he explained.
This is why he comes back every year – the people. “Where can you go and interact with people, make new friends and enjoy the beauty of CVNP based on your availability with no pressure? The answer is CVSR.”
To learn more about how you can volunteer, please visit: https://www.cvsr.org/volunteering/