Editorial: Returned Volunteers should be Proud

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 01 January 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: Editorial: Returned Volunteers should be Proud

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, January 26, 2002 - 6:36 pm: Edit Post

Returned Volunteers should be Proud

The recent debate over Gaddi Vasquez's qualifications for becoming Director of the Peace Corps was historic in nature. For the first time the Returned Volunteer community evaluated a nominee's qualifications. For the first time, Returned Volunteers lobbied effectively against a nominee and Congress took notice. For the first time, Senators on the subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps asked hard questions of a nominee and listened to statements from Returned Volunteers and Directors who opposed his nomination. For the first time members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cast votes against the nominee for Director based on concerns that Returned Volunteers raised first. Returned volunteers should be proud of the action they took on this nomination and proud of the results of our labor working within the political system to make our views known.

Every Peace Corps Volunteer will tell you that it takes time to make a difference. You have to do the best you can. Nobody says it will be easy. But if you do the right thing, the seeds that sprout on the ground you have prepared will someday bear fruit. That is exactly what will happen here. Returned Volunteers have raised their voice in a political forum and our voice has been heard. We have raised the bar for future Peace Corps Directors. Future Presidents will understand the level of excellence that Returned Volunteers demand of appointees to lead the Peace Corps.

That being said - this particular debate is over. The nomination has been approved. Gaddi Vasquez is the Director - he is our Director - the Director of all of us who care about the Peace Corps. We have nothing to regret in our opposition to his nomination. It was a noble effort and we fought the good fight for what we believed in. The level of debate within the RPCV community has done credit to us all. The struggle was not mean spirited, it was not partisan, it was not personal. The only people who will say it was are the ones who didn't understand what we were fighting for in the first place.

Mr. Vaquez is going to need our support and experience to be a successful Peace Corps Director and we offer it here. We love the Peace Corps. We are not about to let it fail or flounder through our apathy or through our inaction. The Returned Volunteer Community is ready to help Mr. Vasquez. But volunteers have more responsibility than just offering our goodwill and support. Returned Volunteers have the responsibility to continue their involvement in the agency - to preserve and protect her - and to help her grow and prosper. This is our responsibility and it is a responsibility that we take seriously and that we will help carry out.

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