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Say ‘thank you’ to an MSP Airport volunteer

It's no secret that the welcoming help of volunteers make MSP Airport (MSP) what it is – one of the top airports in North America year after year. Volunteer Appreciation Week began Sunday (April 17) and continues through Saturday (April 23).

So be sure to say thank you next time you see a volunteer, whether it's Traveler's Assistance's Jerry Cassidy at Terminal 2, the Armed Forces Service Center's Jerry Connolly at Terminal 1, or the many others who help travelers get safely to their destinations.

And there are literally hundreds of volunteers at MSP. The Airport Foundation MSP Traveler's Assistance program currently has more than 400 volunteers doing everything from staffing MSP's Information Booths to working as Animal Ambassadors, and from serving as "Go Guides" who fan out throughout the airport campus, to providing one-on-one support to travelers with special needs.

"We're continuing to recruit new volunteers and plan to ramp up our recruitment efforts this summer during all of the Metropolitan Airports Commission's Reliever Airports signature events like Air Expo and Girls in Aviation Day," said Sara Ernst, the volunteer manager for the Airport Foundation MSP. "Volunteers are a vital part of the MSP experience."

In celebration of Volunteer Appreciation Week, Traveler's Assistance is opening its new volunteer lounge on Sunday (April 17), which is located across the hall from the back entrance to the Traveler's Assistance Central Office at Terminal 1. 

The program shut down for a few months during the pandemic but is bringing back more volunteers as air travel returns to MSP. Likewise, the Armed Forces Service Center (AFSC) was paused by the pandemic but is now open from 8 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. seven days a week.

"Like many nonprofits during the pandemic, the AFSC had approximately 50 volunteers retire in 2020 out of Covid safety concerns," said Debra Cain, executive director of the AFSC. "Thanks to our remaining dedicated volunteers we were able to safely reopen in November 2020, during our 50th anniversary year, when many USOs (United Service Organizations) were still shutdown worldwide." 

It, too, is recruiting more volunteers to meet and greet guests – as well as many other duties – at the center.

National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 by the United States government. Today, the holiday is organized by Points of Light, the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. Community-based organizations across the country celebrate National Volunteer Week as a way to recognize "the power of volunteers to tackle society's greatest challenges." 

So be sure to say 'thank you' this week to the hundreds of MSP volunteers!