I had the privilege this afternoon of talking with a true gem in our community–a “diamond” if you will.

Patrick Sandoval has served as a BLC Americorps Encore Member for two years and is now a second-year Fellow with Experience Engaged, currently providing service for Aging Resources of Douglas County where he does research for their grants, makes up to 80 “calls of connection” to older adults every two weeks, and delivers food to an average of ten people in need on Wednesdays.

I asked Patrick why he calls his clients “diamonds,” such an endearing term that he originated. He was reflective when sharing, “There’s got to be a word(s) more descriptive on this wonderful journey [we have had] than ‘oh, you’re a senior.’”

Within a single minute of talking to Patrick, one is immediately struck by his empathy, a quality that served him well in a storied career as an educator and counselor, and today, serves him equally well as an Experienced Engaged Fellow in work with his “diamonds.” 

Intrigued to know some of his influences along the way and how his true sense of humanity evolved, I asked him to share a favorite quote. In so doing, he reflected upon a book by Andy Andrews, The Noticer, featuring main character, Jones, who explains, “I am a noticer. I notice the good things in people that they have long forgotten about themselves. Those are the things that make you special.”

Recognizing himself as a noticer, Patrick indicated that it has given him “renewed energy” and a succinct way in which to “work with people, [letting] them know they are appreciated.”

He brought that same sense of purpose while serving as a BLC Americorps Encore Member four years ago at Jewish Family Service.  He shared a remarkable conversation he had with a Holocaust survivor, listening and truly appreciating this man and his story.  Patrick learned that all of his family members were killed in the Holocaust and he survived solely due to his work as a carpenter, making decoy planes out of wood to deflect opposing airstrikes.  

It is Patrick’s depth of human connection, his true value of the diamonds with whom he has worked that enable this kind of shared human interaction. . . the awareness that each of us carries a story with us.

Thank you, Patrick, for the work you have done with Jewish Family Service, for the work you are doing with Aging Resources of Douglas County, for the rare diamond that you are in this world.