During the annual robotics season, it is easy to remember to thank our volunteers. We see them every weekend, at every event, as they arrive earlier and stay later than everyone else to set up and tear down the equipment and field components that make everything else possible. They take time off of work, sacrificing precious vacation days to support our teams on their paths to success. For these reasons, it is so important that we continue to recognize our volunteers year-round, to thank them for their work and dedication to the programs we all love. This week’s spotlight shines on one such volunteer, Dave Edelson.
Dave is a fixture of many FIRST® in Texas events, serving every weekend of the FIRST® Robotics Competition season as a Field Supervisor. You may have seen him at work during setup, teardown, or field reset, or maybe lending a helping hand to to other volunteer’s around the field. Some of our teams from Katy ISD might also recognize Dave for his work as a local field expert. He has assisted many of his local teams, including his own Team 624, CRyptonite.
Dave began the same way many of our volunteers do. His wife, a teacher at a local high school and the faculty sponsor for team 624, asked him to advise some of her team members . His career as an engineer made a great resource for the students. On top of his direct support, he would come to competitions when he could, just to support the team. By the time his children were members of the team, Dave had become established as a Robot Inspector and Scorer. It wasn’t long before Dave became acquainted with an established Field Supervisor, who mentored him in the role. Dave made his solo Field Supervisor debut during the 2017 STEAMWORKS season.
When he began, Dave would work at a few events every season and a few more off-season events. Now, he takes the time to volunteer during each of the five weekends during the season. He also volunteers at the FIRST® in Texas FRC District Championship and the FIRST® Robotics Competition World Championship. He has even volunteered at events in San Diego and Orlando, and he still makes a few off-season events every year!
Dave recalls working closely with a student at one event during the 2022 RAPID REACT season. The student, Quinn, had noticed a problem with a field element and had approached Dave for assistance after a match. At later events Dave and Quinn were able to laugh about the error and the time they took to resolve it at the event. These stories happen every year. Sometimes the impact of our volunteers is felt by whole communities as a successful event. Other times, the impact is felt in full by a single student who needs a respectful; ear to listen. Dave’s work, like many of our volunteers, has impacted thousands.
Dave Edelson is one of more than seven thousand volunteers across Texas and New Mexico. But our programs are always growing, we need even more help. Dave spends a some of his personal time assisting our Volunteer Coordinators in filling every role at events. Unfortunately, there just aren’t always enough volunteers to go around. If Dave’s story inspires you, or if you want to help support the FIRST® in Texas community, consider signing up to volunteer today!