Matt Ryerson, president and CEO of United Way Bradley County, has been appointed to the state’s Volunteer Tennessee organization.
“I’m still figuring out what it means. … It’s humbling because there are so many good people in the state, even around our community who would be just as good as I would be on this board,” Ryerson said.
He is confident he will enjoy representing Bradley County at the state level.
Ryerson said he had been encouraged to apply by Mary Graham of the state-level United Way and others.
After researching the position, Ryerson decided to apply.
“I put in an application, in large part because this year the United Way’s major focus is on volunteerism,” Ryerson said.
After the application was submitted, Ryerson received a call from the governor’s office soliciting more information.
“It was basically like a job interview. It was really detailed,” Ryerson said.
State Rep. Kevin Brooks also made a recommendation for Ryerson’s appointment.
Then came the call informing him of Gov. Bill Haslam’s decision.
“It was super exciting,” Ryerson said.
His first taste of being a member came last week when he attended an orientation session in Nashville.
“The major push is to promote volunteerism statewide,” Ryerson said.
He said the VTC focuses on promoting the value of volunteering.
While serving with Volunteer Tennessee, Ryerson will attend four meetings a year in Nashville.
“It won’t really take me out of Bradley County all that often,” he said.
Other work for Volunteer Tennessee will be completed via conference calls. Each member is appointed to a three-year term.
Ryerson said there are two major elements of Volunteer Tennessee. He is especially excited to have a part in it. One is the annual conference and the other is promoting the AmeriCorps VISTA program. The acronym is for Volunteers in Service to America.
He said the conference features multiple sessions about volunteering.
“One of my favorite parts of it is they do a volunteer award,” he said.
He added he especially likes the fact every county in the state has a volunteer recognized.
“Even though most volunteers don’t do it for the recognition, I think it is important to recognize really good volunteers.”
Ryerson said there are seven VISTAs coming to Bradley County this month to work with local nonprofits. For the nonprofits it means having a full-time volunteer.
The VISTA representatives are coming to the county because of an application placed by the United Way of Bradley County.
The organization is under the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration.
Ryerson is one of 91 Tennesseans Haslam has appointed to state boards and commissions.