Editor’s note: Cordova community events and programs run on volunteers. This is an ongoing series of Volunteer Spotlight Q&A’s in partnership with the Cordova Chamber of Commerce to honor those who give their time and efforts to better the community.
Volunteering isn’t a “give to get” concept for Steve Leppert. He lives his life wanting to help others.
As the pastor of the Cordova Church of the Nazarene, helping others is a part of his faith.
Just shy of five years living in Cordova, Leppert is involved with a long list of volunteer roles. He’s a Little League coach. He volunteers at Cordova Iceworm Festival, the Fourth of July BBQ and the Christmas Bazaar. He puts on town rummage sales. And he donates fish he catches to elders and those in need.
Why is volunteering important to you?
As a pastor, folks expect me to be helpful whenever and wherever I can be. However, I believe that as a pastor I need to be engaged in the community.
I have had several rummage sales for the town’s people as well as benefiting the seasonal workers.
I have coached Little League as a way of engaging people and getting to know their stories. Knowing stories helps meet even more needs.
I have been involved at Iceworm Festival and the Christmas Bazaar. I assisted with the Food for Federal Employees during the government shut down. We also remodeled a woman’s home after she lost her leg to diabetes with no cost to her.
Why do I do it? As a follower of Christ, I understand that when people are praying for God to help them, it is His church that becomes the hands, feet, hearts and vehicles of those prayers.
A hungry person needs food, a hurting person needs hope and comfort, and addicted person needs loving options, and so on. I do it because we should be compelled to help.
We do not try and fill in the blanks for why people are where they are, but we look at the immediate need, listen to the stories, and try and get them back on their feet.
The old saying is still true, “What would Jesus do?”
What are some of your volunteer roles in Cordova?
On the local level I coached one of the Little League teams for the past three years. On the personal level there are private things done that others would be uncomfortable if what was done for them got out.
I am the pastor of the Cordova Church of the Nazarene. I have a long work history. I was janitor, plumber, schoolteacher, retail manager, carpenters apprentice, and some other odd jobs here and there.
In the church I have been a youth pastor, assistant pastor, hospital Chaplin and senior pastor. I have four degrees: Bachelor’s of Arts degrees in counseling and Biblical Studies and Masters of arts in secondary education and in religion.
Is there something you gained from your volunteer work?
Volunteer work, for me, is not a give to get thing, but I do get something out of it. There is great satisfaction when you see the smile on a face, a life being transformed, someone’s healing, and a long list of lifelong friends. When helping others you take whatever skills you have, but you develop new skills on the spot.
How long have you lived in Cordova and where are you from?
I will have been here five years this Christmas, and I am from the New York area.
If you’d like to know more information on ways to volunteer in the community contact the Cordova Chamber of Commerce at 907-424-7260 or visit cordovachamber.com/volunteer.
Nominate someone for a future Volunteer Spotlight at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Spencer is a freelance writer for the Cordova Times. She’s a seasonal resident of Cordova for over 15 years and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Environmental Studies. She received her Natural Chef certificate in Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts, in addition to dabbling as an oil painter and ceramic artist.