If you do a good deed a day, you are on the right path. This is TDS’ Direct Sales Representative Kevin Didriksen’s philosophy on life and the reason he was recently named Volunteer of the Quarter by TDS.
In the nomination letter it was noted Kevin has helped out the community of Mesquite, Nevada, for many years. “He always puts the person he’s interacting with above himself. Whether he’s helping a senior citizen with groceries or a customer save what they can on TDS’ services, Kevin does as much as he can whenever he can.”
The desire to help started for Kevin at the age of 16. After his mother died from mental-health challenges, he started working to help pay for household expenses.
“I had no idea what our financial background was, but I saw my dad put spare funds into a jar that he deposited into savings once a year,” he said. “I decided to do the same and put half my paycheck into that same jar without him knowing. Turns out, he used that money for my mother’s funeral, but also to take care of his mother and sister.”
Kevin said his dad wanted to pay back his own mother for all the years she took care of him. It came full circle in the end—Kevin helping his dad and his dad caring for Kevin’s grandma.
After Kevin’s mom died, Thanksgivings were difficult times for Kevin, so he volunteered at a senior center serving dinner. “I didn’t want to do many family things at that time. I just wanted to keep busy, and this was the perfect way to do that,” Kevin said.
As a young adult, Kevin went to city hall to ask what he could do in his community and they suggested getting involved with the Salvation Army. He rang bells at Salvation Army red kettles and also helped with the Salvation Army Toy Drive. “We would collect toys and actually deliver them. Sometimes the kids would answer the door and just light up seeing the gifts. The parents would sometimes cry and thank us. It just made you feel really good doing such a good deed,” Kevin said.
Several other charities are benefiting from Kevin and his family’s good deeds:
- Mesquite food drive
“Things were tight with our first child and my wife staying at home. We went to a food drive for ourselves and our daughter. During one of our visits, I started asking questions about the food pantry’s founding and if there was anything I could do to help out. The woman there recognized me from bell ringing and sent me over to the volunteer coordinator. Her English wasn’t very good, so I didn’t know what they needed. However, a month later, I showed up two hours before they opened and just did what I could. Not understanding the coordinator and not knowing what to do was also the push I needed to start learning Spanish.”
- Southern Nevada Home Builders welfare program
“I helped my brother build a home through this organization. It’s a unique experience in that you apply for a plot of land and if you qualify, the program will help build your home. The key word is ‘help’ because the whole neighborhood has to chip in to build everyone’s home. Professionals are brought in to teach skills and any member of the family can assist. I can now mix cement, texturize walls, and lay a lawn on non-fertile ground. It was great experience, too. I stepped outside my comfort zone to help others. This was six hours every Saturday for six months.”
- Southern Utah Home Builders Association
“I am the TDS representative in Hurricane, Utah. After learning of a volunteer opportunity in that city with this group from our marketing team, I mixed cement for the builder’s association while introducing myself to current and potential customers. A win/win for business and volunteering.”
- Assisting struggling shoppers
“I see people struggle while shopping for various reasons—like they can’t find an item, or it’s too high on a shelf. I offer to help and while most are grateful, others need a little coaxing before they let me assist. Then when they see me again at the store a different day, they either remember me and ask for help, or I’m wearing my TDS lanyard and they assume I work there because they aren’t really reading what it says. Then it’s OK if I help them.”
- Mesquite Recreation Center
“I like to help with Little League Baseball or set up equipment, offer hands for an upcoming fair, really whatever is necessary.”
Today, Kevin is married to Cozette and the couple is raising three daughters: Elize (7), Zelda (6,) and Asuna (3).
“My kids are the future and although we are doing OK, I want them to know that not everyone is as fortunate as us. By bringing them to help serve meals or ring bells, they have fun, but also get to see firsthand how we can make a difference in someone else’s life who might need a little extra help. We want to get the girls out of their bubble and expand their horizons so they have a better understanding and more well-rounded view of the world.”
Congratulations to Kevin on being named a TDS Volunteer of the Quarter. You truly are making a difference in your community and teaching your daughters that giving back is just a part of everyday life.
By Rhonda Hilmershausen, TDS Senior Brand Journalist