Thanks to the volunteers

Dr. Ken Hope | TLT President's Report November 2021

History has proven that volunteers can make a huge impact and even save the day.

“Brave Tennesseans! We must hasten to the frontier, or we will find it drenched in the blood of our fellow-citizens!”
– Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson to Pvt. David Crockett, Lt. Sam Houston and 5,000 other militiamen as they mobilized for the War of 1812.1

Friends, we find ourselves at this point of our year deep in college football drama—the traditions, the rivalries and the joy of watching the conflict on the gridiron. There is one rivalry that takes place on the third Saturday of October every year between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers. I must admit, that with all of the glorious mascots in college football, the Volunteers doesn’t seem to instill fear the way others do. However, that was before I knew the courageous history behind the name (and this is coming from a ’Bama fan).

The history of the Volunteer State nickname takes us back to an early time during our country’s history. It was about 15 years after Tennessee became a state and during the War of 1812. General Andrew Jackson called for volunteers to leave their jobs and families to defend their land, and 1,500 soldiers stepped up.

That wasn’t the only volunteering that was being done, either. After the death of Davy Crockett at the Alamo, the Secretary of War asked Tennessee for 2,800 soldiers after the Mexican-American War, and Tennessee sent 30,000—that was over 10 times what was asked of them! That war effort was focused on securing the sovereignty of the Republic of Texas, which is the state where I live. These stories warm our hearts and encourage us to step up where help is needed.

Volunteering is a special kind of participation. It inherently states that this effort is worth my time and worth my effort. I’ve also heard, on more than one occasion, regarding STLE volunteering, “You will get out of it much more than you put in.” That is definitely true in my experience! So, it is good to pause and thank the many STLE volunteers that keep this society moving forward.

Now, we find ourselves eking out of a global pandemic, and we have all felt the heartache and tragedy over the last year and a half. Some efforts have been canceled or sidelined, and some have found new ways to continue in our hybrid world experience. My question to you is, is there room for another volunteer? Would you consider how you can make your mark in STLE history? We are finding new ways of getting the job done. There also are new ways to become involved—whether it be in education, section leadership or the many volunteer activities, there is a place for you. Go to, talk to the staff at headquarters and see if there is a way that you can participate that energizes you. Be a hero, make your mark, be a volunteer!

1. Click here.
Dr. Ken Hope, CLS, is global PAO technical services manager for Chevron Phillips Chemical in The Woodlands, Texas. You can reach him at