Friday, Sept. 18, marks the 10th anniversary of “Meet the Mission” when participating University of the Incarnate Word students earn community service hours toward graduation through various outreaches across town.
This year, faculty planners also are paying tribute to the man who started the fall program and the Alternative Spring Break – Dr. Harold Rodinsky, an associate professor of psychology at UIW.
Rodinsky, a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, modeled “Meet the Mission” from an ongoing project at DePaul — the St. Vincent Day of community service.
“I came from a family who did community service and it showed me a different kind of responsibility outside of work,” Rodinsky has told the Logos in earlier “Meet the Mission” articles. “My hope is that ‘Meet the Mission’ will benefit students in the long run from their experience. I hope they not only gain the knowledge and opportunity, but also the religious fulfillment to move them to volunteer later on in life.”
Dr. Craig McCarron, an assistant professor of mathematics who is helping to plan this year’s “Meet the Mission,” said Rodinsky really left a legacy of service.
“When you try to carry on a mission started by a pioneer, you feel honored to bear that yoke,” McCarron said. “The old Cheyenne proverb says, ‘Do not judge any man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.’ I have tried walking two moons in Harold Rodinsky’s moccasins, and I can tell you they’re pretty big.
“Service didn’t start at the University of the Incarnate Word with Harold, and it won’t end with him. He labored to establish traditions of service, ‘Meet the Mission’ in the fall and Alternative Spring Break in March. The success of these projects depended on a myriad of ‘Harolds’ working to make them a reality. ‘Harolds’ who embraced the spirit of service at the University of the Incarnate Word.
“Students and faculty enthusiastically volunteer for ‘Meet the Mission’ and Alternative Spring Break, ready to tackle any project, large or small, rain or shine, hot or cold. Harolds. So many Harolds. Accounting students and faculty preparing taxes for the folks who can’t afford H&R Block. A steady supply of Harolds. Nursing students and faculty reaching out to children at Haven for Hope, comforting and encouraging them. Whether or not they know Harold, they are Harold. Nutrition students and faculty serving youths at a diabetes camp are living the life of Harold. Free eye clinics offered by more Harolds.
“The spirit of Harold is not confined to the classrooms and lecture halls. Campus staff like Armando Rey and Raymond Leon make the missions possible, providing the tools and know-how to serve our community. Ed, driving the bus for Alternative Spring Break, climbs out of the bus and spends the days painting with us. Harolds, all Harolds. When I found myself short a driver for a painting mission, I sent a desperate email late at night to Sam Wages and Joe Cadena. I arrived on campus the next morning at zero dark thirty, and there was a shuttle bus and driver ready and waiting. Harolds everywhere.
“Oftentimes, the best way to show love for our fellow man is to wrap a towel around our waist and wash people’s feet. Harold Rodinsky set that example by washing windows, painting houses, and so many other humble acts.
“At the University of the Incarnate Word, we value Education, Truth, Faith, Service, and Innovation. All of these flow from love, and all of these make us better able to love. Harold has shown how simple it is to show love: reach out and do something to help someone. I can’t think of any other university that models Christ’s love as universally as it’s modeled at the University of the Incarnate Word. What a great environment for a young person to enter adulthood.”