Everyday Heroes: Man's passion for volunteering is inspired by the kindness of strangers
12/18/2012 06:08:23 PM PST
12/19/2012 02:37:43 PM PST
me/w1t8ux0s" target="_blank">Interview with Parry Havelaar
LONG BEACH - Growing up, Parry Havelaar was surrounded by the kindness of others.
His mother took care of her sisters after they became orphans. His father, a prisoner of war, worked to bring his wife and three small children to America.
"That was his dream and he gave us the opportunity to come to the United States," said Havelaar, a 53-year-old Boeing Co. employee based out of Long Beach.
His family made the long trek from Jakarta to Holland to America by boat in 1960.
Strangers also helped. A family, which Havelaar still knows today, sponsored their arrival into the United States. Doctors donated medicine to the family, said Havelaar, who was born with a heart defect.
Parry Havelaar, a 23-year employee at Boeing, spends much of his free time volunteering for kids with disabilities. (Brittany Murray / Staff Photographer)
These acts of kindness are what Havelaar remembers and what compels him to give back, whether it's building houses for the needy or giving children with special needs a chance to be part of a sports team.
"From my parents, we've been instilled to help people out," said the Huntington Beach resident. "We don't know any other way, really."
Havelaar, a 23-year manufacturing analyst for Boeing, volunteers roughly 20 hours a week. He has painted homes, built a new pantry for veterans, helped create collages for children to give to their mothers as gifts, volunteered in the Special Olympics and raised funds for earthquake victims in Indonesia.
"My parents said to always give back if you can and that's our biggest thing," he said. "We try to do that. I always think, `If I could do something that will take me 10 minutes, why not do it?"'
Havelaar, who is president of the Boeing Employees Ability Awareness Affinity Group, also helped to organize an October event to host the Los Angeles Clippers Chairmen, a professional wheelchair basketball team, for a game inside the C-17 facility.
"Parry Havelaar has a contagious passion for giving back to so many in the community," said Bob Ciesla, vice president, Airlift, and C-17 program manager, who has known and volunteered alongside Havelaar for many years.
"Parry is not afraid to lead with his heart and we can all learn a lot from him. It's gratifying to work with individuals like Parry who embody Boeing's culture of volunteerism and commitment to improving the quality of life in our community."
One of Havelaar's biggest passions is being a volunteer baseball, basketball and soccer coach for those with special needs, something he initially got into because of his niece and nephew, who also have special needs.
"It's amazing. You get in there and watch these kids blossom," he said. "Every player swings until they get a hit. We will not let them walk. We will not let them strike out. They all swing until they get a hit."
To Havelaar, volunteering is more than work.
"It's very rewarding," he said. "It's a passion."
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