David Mitchell creates a sense of community wherever he goes. Whether it’s the local fire station, a church, an Indian reservation or one of other countless places Mitchell has shared his time and talents; the effect is the same. Giving helps him feel grounded.
Growing up in the Nazarene faith, he experienced at a young age the value of community service. “It was always a part of my family growing up. We always found time, especially at the holidays, to serve meals at various churches around town. I’ve always felt that as long as I’m able, I want to give back and be involved.”
Mitchell has clearly demonstrated that core value. Known as Chef Dave to those who take part in the annual Thanksgiving dinners at St. Luke United Methodist Church, he has organized the event details and the cooking for more than 20 years. There are few among us who would be ambitious enough to tackle such an endeavor as feeding thousands of people in one setting. Even fewer would be willing to do so while combatting cancer. Yet Mitchell finds a way. As his health needs change, he finds a way to make a complicated schedule of cancer treatments and meal preparations work.
Mitchell clearly believes he gets more than he gives when he volunteers. His motivation to help his community keeps him going. “Three times, I’ve beaten the odds and cheated death, so I think I’m doing something right. I’ve learned over the years when to step back, listen to my body and take a break. It’s just something I do. It’s part of who I am.”
To others who are considering volunteering, Mitchell has some simple advice, “Start small. Find something that interests you and go from there. It’s all about helping one another.”