Children learn many things from their parents — some good, some bad. Steve Cavit learned the art of service from his parents, and now shares his love of volunteering with the rest of us.
Cavit was born and raised in Tacoma, earning a degree in electrical engineering from Gonzaga University. While his mother volunteered in the schools, his father volunteered with his church, the Boy Scouts, St. Vincent de Paul, and the blood bank.
“I’m still trying to live up to my father’s example,” Cavit admits. “Volunteering was a major portion of his lifestyle.”
Young Cavit started out by donating blood with his father when he was just a boy. Today, he donates at the Puget Sound Blood Center in Tukwila, whose lab and processing facilities are located in Renton. Over the years, Cavit says he’s donated over sixteen gallons of his blood - one pint every eight weeks.
“It’s one of the few things I’ve caught up to my father and actually passed him on,” Cavit boasts.
Cavit likes to stay physically active and has also found opportunities to volunteer by doing things he loves. He’s climbed Mr. Ranier for the American Lung Association, ridden a bike ride across Washington State for the Redmond Rotary, and even participated in the MS 150 bike ride with a team from Valley Medical Center.
Like many people, Cavit is diverse in his volunteering. His wife, Lani, runs the St. Vincent de Paul food bank in Renton. When she has a list of things she needs (rice, cereal, condiments); Cavit does the shopping.
“Steve is a reliable volunteer who uses his organizational skills to keep the food bank running efficiently,” says Lani. “It’s also helpful to have a strong person to help with the heavy lifting.”
Cavit is the membership secretary for the Friends of Renton Libraries, helping to keep the membership database up-to-date. A friend also recruited him to serve as a non-attorney member of the King County Bar Association Judicial Review Committee, to help to interview and rate judicial candidates for judgeships.
Volunteerism is a two-way partnership, he said. Both the server and the served benefit.
“One of the good things about volunteer jobs,” he says, “is the education you get.”
As an electrical engineer, Cavit spent his career working on industrial designs for various factories, paper mills, and pumping stations — a far cry from the “job” he holds today. For the past four years, Cavit has served as a messenger at Valley Medical Center. Because hospitals are large, complex organizations, employing hundreds, if not thousands of people, transporting things efficiently and quickly can be difficult. But give a volunteer a phone and a clipboard, train them to know every inch of the multiplex facility and you have the perfect means to deliver samples to the lab, medications to the nursing units, or even post the mail. Cavit says he’ll often get several calls in succession and has to quickly plan efficient routes throughout the large facility to get the job done.
“I’m on the go constantly,” Cavit says, “but since I love to stay active, this fits in perfectly. I will even sneak in a workout after my shift.”
Cavit rounds out his volunteering at VMC by serving on the board of Volunteers in Action, the volunteer corporation that runs the gift shops. Funds raised from sales are used for patient amenities like the volunteer vans that shuttle people around the hospital campus.
“I am very impressed by my fellow volunteers,” he says. “They are about the most selflessly dedicated group of people I have ever been around. I like to say VMC is the place with 1,000 smiley people.”
Cavit followed the example set by his parents. Today, both he and his wife volunteer, passing on the art of service to the next generation and to those of us who care to follow.