From a career Firefighter to longtime TCP employee and, more recently, a Food Pantry volunteer, John Burton has lots of life experiences under his belt. Over the 12+ years John’s been walking the TCP halls, he’s seen The Caring Place grow in size and impact. Read on to learn more about John and his time at The Caring Place!
Originally from San Antonio, John moved to the Austin area when he began his Firefighting career. A couple years later, he joined the Round Rock Fire Department, where he remained for 26 years, retiring as a Battalion Chief. Next, John worked a few jobs in construction and maintenance, but ultimately found his home as a truck driver at The Caring Place.
That truck driving job marked the beginning of John’s journey at TCP, which would lead to him managing the Donations department. To John, working in Donations meant being the first, and sometimes only, face of The Caring Place’s operations. He often motivated volunteers or staff to “smile and encourage people to donate.” And it worked. This is the kind of leadership The Caring Place continues to seek in employees today, so it’s no wonder John found a connection with The Caring Place.
Something that John admires about TCP is how it grows due to community support. He relates that, even during the pandemic closures, The Caring Place was still able to provide assistance to those in need because of the generosity within our community. As a non-profit, he thinks The Caring Place goes “above and beyond” with the number of families it can provide services for.
After meeting John and learning of his dedication, I was naturally curious about what drove John’s continued commitment to The Caring Place. His answer? “I believe in the mission here.” John says he feels grateful to work towards something he’s passionate about, something that brings him joy. And when John retired last year, he decided to return to The Caring Place a few short months later, this time as a volunteer. “I missed the staff. I missed the volunteers and the clients.”
Now, you can find John in the Food Pantry on Monday and Wednesday mornings. Though the Food Pantry is different from Donations, he tells me that “being involved in helping” is what ties all aspects of The Caring Place together, and what he finds fulfilling. So much so, that he’s even considering adding a couple more volunteer shifts to his schedule. He’s also happy that volunteering has allowed him to spend more time with his son, Blake, who’s an employee in the Food Pantry.
As he approaches his 70th birthday, John has adopted a carefree attitude towards life. He’s nicknamed the place he lives as “Rancho no lo hace,” or “Ranch that doesn’t matter.” Not taking anything too seriously, John is proud to be content with what he has. In his spare time, he likes to work on carpentry projects with Blake and tend the sheep near his home.
We at The Caring Place are thankful for John’s service and commitment to our mission. The collective work of our many volunteers like John make it possible for the organization to provide for the basic human needs of all people in our community in a welcoming, respectful and caring way!