West Campus senior helps serve local veterans

Lita Nielsen, Editor - West Campus

The hours kept stacking up as Senior Michael Norlander volunteered at event after event. By the end of his first year in Key Club at MCHS, Norlander had accumulated an astonishing 140 hours.  

Norlander, a student at West Campus, only joined Key Club last year as a junior but quickly developed a passion for it, which led him to the decision to run for Key Club President.

He said felt that he could help people more if he were the president.

“Volunteering is a very important part of [our] community, and part of our world,” Norlander said. 

One way Norlander helped make a greater impact was by introducing Transitional Living Services, an organization that helps veterans transition into the real world, to Key Club. Similar to volunteering at a food pantry, Key Club volunteers help unload a truck and sort out food donations for the veterans.

Norlander brought his proposal to Theel, who thought it was a great idea. Norlander then talked to one of the TLS directors. He said that he has developed a good relationship with TLS and it’s now his favorite event to volunteer at each month.

Senior Samuel Burton has been friends with Norlander since his sophomore year and volunteers with him. Burton described Norlander as someone with direction and who only does things that are worth his time.

Norlander’s friends also see him as an original person that is really dedicated to his passions and no one can stop him from achieving his goals. They also see him as an independent person.

“He’s spontaneous,” Burton said. “You’re just never going to know what he does.”

However, while in his role at Key Club, Norlander makes he is both dependable and takes the job seriously.

He is hard-working and professional in regards to Key Club,” said Emma Theel, the Key Club advisor. 

Norlander said part of what fuels him is a strong sense of empathy for people. He said feels bad when he can’t help someone in need.

“I know what it feels like when no one is there to help when you need it most,” Norlander said.“It’s like the humanity you grew up loving and trusting…they abandon you…I don’t want anyone else to feel that. I want them to keep hoping and trusting in humanity because otherwise, there’s no point to it all.”