Story From the Field — by Ariane Psomotragos

This is the story of an amazing volunteer.

On any campaign you get those wonderful people who show up, do the work, spend long hours helping you reach your goals and make your exhausted life that much easier. This person was one of those inspiring people but there was something unique about her: she was 79 years old.

She had been a volunteer before I became a summer fellow on the campaign and had taken some time off for a home renovation. On the first day she came back it was a miserable rainy Saturday morning and we had only one other volunteer show up to canvass, a resounding disappointment as we were used to getting closer to ten people.

Sitting on the porch of the house we used as the staging location that day we got into a deep discussion about what we had to do to improve the team and get better results. I knew her dedication and wanted to empower her to take on a larger role now that she was available to help more often. I encouraged her to join the new summer fellows. She, knowing the average age of the fellows was closer to my age of 21, was very resistant to the idea. It took a bit of persuasion but eventually she relented and joined.

For the final six weeks of the campaign, she and I worked side by side for 12 hours every day, 7 days of the week and our team grew exponentially, hitting all our goals and running a very successful staging location on election day.

To this day I remain in contact with her and the other wonderful friends I made on the campaign. It is truly inspiring to see what one-on-ones can do to build relationships and commitment from people of all ages. This was my first political campaign and I’ve gone on to do four more since 2012. It never stops and I love it.