Volunteer Spotlight – Steve Burrill

Volunteer with RIS

 Whether you have a few hours a month, a week, or for a one-time event, we can use your help and talents.

Steve Burrill came into the life of Rein in Sarcoma in a time of major problems, and there could not have been a better man to join us. In the fall of 2016, we experienced the tragic death of the chair of our Finance Committee, and the volunteer treasurer at Rein in Sarcoma resigned. We needed new financial leadership, and we needed it quickly. 

Former treasurer Tom Dougherty and the new chair of our Finance Committee, Jeff Dobbs, worked to secure new and experienced leadership to manage and oversee the finances of our non-profit. After finding excellent new volunteers including treasurer, Tom McCarthy, and Mitch Atherton, we were in need of a volunteer bookkeeper. Jeff suggested his soon-to-be father-in-law, Steve Burrill, who had first-hand experience surviving major life challenges.

The year 1985 was not easy for Steve. Steve’s daughter, Katherine, was born in October of that year, almost two months premature. In 1985, outcomes for a 10-week premature baby came with many question marks. On December 9th, Steve fell 12 feet from a ladder, breaking his neck, and leaving him a quadriplegic. The same day, Steve’s father was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live.

Steve’s mother told him, “you need to hold on to your rope, tie a knot, and hang on .” And Steve did. His daughter Katherine went on to grow, graduate from St Thomas, and become a great elementary school teacher. His father was actually misdiagnosed and lived another 14 years. As for Steve…

Steve found his perfect vocation as a programmer and business analyst, initially for IDS and then for several other major financial companies.  As Steve relates, “I had to break my neck to find the right job.”

Six years ago, Steve suffered severe illness that didn’t allow him to get back to work, so he took early retirement. Having learned the importance of volunteering from his father, Steve became a computer tutor for the Minnesota Literacy Council. In late 2016, Steve told Jeff that with the tutoring position winding down, he was looking for a new opportunity to really make a difference. Jeff told him about Rein in Sarcoma’s needs … and now we are celebrating the one-year anniversary of Steve Burrill as our volunteer bookkeeper. Steve does all our financial data entry and leads the effort to coordinate the bookkeeping system with our database.

Steve has found volunteering at Rein in Sarcoma the perfect opportunity to use his skills and manage his physical limitations.  “It’s a great fit for me,” said Steve, and he really feels valued. “It’s fantastic to work with volunteers and staff whose talents complement each other. We have a great group of extremely talented people managing the finances of Rein in Sarcoma. Our committee members are not afraid to challenge each other, yet we collaborate very well.”


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