An Evening of Public Service

Posted on Monday, Mar 09, 2015

What does it mean to serve? Such a simple question that reflects such a vast pool of answers within the realm of public service. If there is one answer that I'm searching for, it is how to find meaning in public service and use it with swift action to help those around me. But first, one must learn through the windy road of where your service may take you.

The road took my staff and I to Pearland this past weekend. I had no intentions to ever travel to Pearland, neither friends or family of mine lived there. As requested, the staff and I were asked to come to this town east of Houston to help with a fundraiser for Ovarian Cancer. This particular type of cancer had affected the Representative I work for Kyle Kacal and Representative Ken King during last session and subsequently the KK125 Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation was formed in January 2014. The Foundation  focuses on reforming compassionate use, advancing treatments and cures for ovarian cancer, and promoting the early detection of ovarian cancer.

I had never foreseen any journeys outside of the confines of the Capitol. Yet over the course of the past month and a half, I've met people from all walks of life within our little office in the extension of the Capitol building. Needless to say, I didn't know what to expect from each day in the life at the Capitol but the anticipation of fruitful and engaging conversation continually remained right around the corner of each person I've met thus far.

The drive was precisely three hours from the Capitol building to Pearland on the evening of February 20th. By the time of arrival, my chief of staff, legislative director, legislative aide, district director and I all gathered for a quick bite to eat and headed to bed at our hotel that Friday night. That night I thought to myself all of the "firsts" that have occurred thus far during this legislative session. In an office full of Aggies, never have I felt the direct experience of what it truly means to be an Aggie external  from living on campus until now. All of these moments throughout my time spent in Austin have culminated into a keen sense of humility and sincerity of the work I am here to do. Before I knew it, I awoke from my slumber and began my day with the help of complimentary breakfast in the lobby. As our staff became ready to seize the day, we all drove to the nearby country club in Pearland where the evening's fundraising event was going to take place.

We arrived at the country club with the scene of multiple groups of elderly ladies in what seemed like tennis playing attire assisting in setting up the various rooms that would later hold over the four hundred people who had RSVP'd to the KK125 "Love4Linda" Fundraiser. Two opposing rooms held dining areas, one room for Casino games and raffle boxes and the front lobby consisted of trays full of food for the evening meal and just enough room for three corridors full of prizes for the silent auction. My original thought on setting up in the morning was that it would be a great deal of work. It was quite the contrary, due to the busy bees that were steadfast in providing a quality event with excellent results. The women I had met were all fascinating and carried smiles that could light up any room, women who simply loved the ability to serve at any given moment. During the morning, we helped as much as we could but without further ado, we departed to gather a few supplies for the event and that was all the work that was necessary for our staff.

We were in the company of professionals who knew how to run a fundraiser. After returning to the country club with the supplies, the staff and I returned to our hotel to get ready for the evening. Suited up and ready to go we arrived ready to help at a moment's notice for the fundraiser. Throughout the night, our staff assisted with raffle tickets, pointing out individual bidders participating in the live auction and shared poignant conversations with people affected by Ovarian Cancer. Once the extravagant live auction items were auctioned off and dinner had taken place, the Representatives shared a few kind words regarding the matter in which we were all there that momentous night. We were all there for the love of their mothers, for the love of anyone touched by this Cancer and hope that the money raised that night would prove beneficial for finding a cure and treatment for Ovarian Cancer.

The night took on a respectable and entertaining atmosphere full of laughs and cheer. The ambiance exuded a felt presence of love and care for others, a special kind of love that break barriers of formulaic conversation and form meaningful connections toward understanding someone's story. Each time I shared a conversation with someone I heard words of kindness, generosity and absolute lightheartedness. I saw the ability of people coming together and giving freely of themselves for a just cause.  A cause that before beginning this internship I had never even heard of. If there is one learning lesson that I took away from this amazing experience it's this:

Those who don't know, do have the opportunity to open their eyes and see the possibilities when we truly collaborate with each other, open their ears to hear what matters need listening to and open our hearts when we know that our efforts towards any cause, policy or issue can become a reality towards understanding what it truly means to serve.

I know both Representative Kyle Kacal and Ken King will be filing and supporting legislation coming up this session that pertains to Ovarian Cancer. Thus far this internship has been a remarkable journey threaded with unique bonds made along the way. I look forward to seeing where the road of public service takes myself and the rest of my staff during the rest of the legislative session.

Below are links to find out more about the KK125 Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and how to give to this important cause.  
Angelo Gonzalez
Representative Kyle Kacal
Austin, Texas - Spring 2015

Tags: Austin, Cancer, Service