Drew Johnson brings his enthusiasm for volunteering to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Carb Day, May 28, 2010.

It’s not everyday that you hear of someone stepping out of the shower with an idea to leave everything familiar behind to travel the US serving others. That is the beginning of Drew Johnson’s story and the adventure that brought him through Indiana last week. Johnson has set out to serve as a volunteer in 48 states over the span of 48 weeks, thus the name of his adventure, “48by48“. 

Inspired by the life and teachings of his grandfather and after much thought on what he wanted to do with his life, Drew came up with a plan that he hopes will spark a “movement”. “I want to encourage people to be creative, to adopt the “service to others” lifestyle. I look around and don’t understand why people don’t get more involved to help others, to solve problems.” After spending about 4 months mulling over his ideas and talking with close family and friends, Drew created a plan to serve 20-25 hours a week in each state on the list based on opportunities he would find through websites and suggestions from supporters.

Indiana was the 30th state on Drew’s trek around the country as a volunteer and his second opportunity to serve with The Salvation Army. “It’s so amazing to see behind the scenes and all that goes on within The Salvation Army.” Previously Drew had donned a complete Victorian-era uniform to man a red kettle for the Army in Seattle. But for his stop in Indiana, it was the familiar yellow shirt of the safety crew and the roar of the engines that characterized Drew’s time as a volunteer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  With so many people coming through the gates of the Speedway, it was an important position to fill and not one to be taken lightly. “I don’t want a job created for me. I just want to help where it is needed”, Drew shared. He has stepped up to the plate and filled many of those needs, including volunteering at a Humane Society Shelter for animals, a skatepark, nursing homes, and collecting litter at area state parks.

As Drew’s journey continues on to the east coast, you can follow his “service to others” lifestyle through his blog updates at www.48by48.com and by becoming his fan on Facebook. And of course, the obvious desired reaction to Drew’s prompt is to get involved! Make an effort to shed some of your busyness and give back to your community. As Drew says, “Kindness begets kindness.” If you’d like to fill a need at The Salvation Army here in Indiana, call our Volunteer Coordinator, Elizabeth Wilhelm at (317)224-1010.