Metcalf takes advantage of community service leave
East Carolina University biochemistry research specialist Mark Metcalf takes full advantage of the university’s community service leave policy, using the time to volunteer with university and community service organizations.
(Photo by Cliff Hollis)
By Judy Currin
ECU News Services
Three days doesn’t seem like a lot of time to make a difference in one’s community. Mark Metcalf believes it is.
Since joining the staff of the Brody School of Medicine, the biochemistry research specialist has taken full advantage of the 24 hours of community service leave East Carolina University offers its employees.
“Think about it,” Metcalf said. “That’s three days the university pays you to get involved in the community. I think it’s great. It’s a gift a lot of employees don’t utilize.” Metcalf embraces ECU’s motto “to serve,” and encourages others to follow by example.
ECU Staff Senate member Metcalf is co-advisor and volunteer with the ECU Sailing Club. Still in its infancy, the club boasts 30 members and meets 20 times a year; fifteen of those are race days. “We race a lot against the Pamlico Sailing Club, but are partnering with the Neuse Yacht Racing Association in New Bern to increase the number of race days,” Metcalf said.
Mishaps? “Yeah we have our fair share,” Metcalf said. “There are plenty of sailor’s tales, seasickness, sleeping in the marina laundry room to stay warm, being WAY underdressed, over dressed, running aground on sandbars, sailing in tropical and lighting storms and falling off the boat. But everybody keeps coming back.”
Three years ago Metcalf responded to Brody School of Medicine photographer Elbert Kennard’s request for additional crew to help man his sailboat for an upcoming race.
“I had never set foot on a sailboat before,” Metcalf said. “I enjoyed it so much I’ve been encouraging students and co-workers to give it a try. It’s so much fun.”
Metcalf organized a Pamlico River clean up last fall that included students and faculty and staff volunteers from the biochemistry department. The Student Recreation Center rented kayaks to the club for a reduced cost, allowing the group to collect 20 bags of trash.
“We are all out there we are having a good time, fellowshipping with each other, building comradery in the department and at the same time doing something positive for the community,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf has also participated with river clean-ups organized by The Pamlico Tar River Foundation. Founded in 1981, PTRF is a private non-profit organization. Its mission is to protect, preserve and promote the environmental quality of the river. “What we do on the land affects water quality for all communities living downstream,” Metcalf said.
For the past year, Metcalf, his wife Meggie and a contingent of fellow researchers devoted additional time through their memberships to the Greenville Jaycees.
“I really like being a part of the Jaycees,” Metcalf said. “They do a lot of good stuff for this community.” The Flat Out 5K benefits the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center. Portions of the money raised also find its way to the Boys and Girls Club. Proceeds from the annual Shuck n’ Pluck fundraiser (named for its menu of roasted oysters, chicken, shrimp and barbecue) are divided between the Boys and Girls Club and the Jaycees fund for the Fourth of July fireworks and the annual Christmas parade.
“When you are a kid you don’t think about or really care who hosts your fireworks and organizes your Christmas parade, “ Metcalf said. “You just expect these things are going to happen.”
And they do, thanks to folks like Metcalf who takes advantage of ECU’s community service leave.
“Mark is someone you can always count on,” said Derek Abbott, lab manager for Brody’s Department of Microbiology & Immunology and this year’s president of the Greenville Jaycees.
“He has great vision and the determination to make that vision a reality.”