When Dianne and Randy Senica arrived at their first disaster response in Nebraska, people there were surprised by the help surrounding them. “What do you mean, you do this for free?” they asked. Then the Senicas started building trust in the community as they helped people rebuild their lives after the devastating flooding.
That started their love of volunteering — nearly 100 days of it, to be exact.
The Senicas were recently awarded the Convoy of Hope Key Award for demonstrating outstanding volunteer service. Every year, staff members nominate one person who has served consistently over the past 12 months. In this case, Dianne and Randy were both nominated for their combined hours of service.
The award was named for Matt Key, one of Convoy of Hope’s first graphic designers from when the organization was founded. He worked tirelessly for Convoy — even creating the iconic flag design seen on Convoy trucks today.
Dianne and Randy’s volunteer journey began at a training in March 2019. Shortly after the training, they were called to Nebraska to help with flooding response. Working alongside Convoy team members and seeing the way they helped survivors, the Senicas knew they wanted to help long-term. They recognized the similarities between their careers in contracting and helping fulfill needs in tangible ways.
“It was a good experience — you’re going above and beyond for people,” said Randy. “In the midst of the work, you’re a team and what you’re doing is such a good thing.”
Their time spent volunteering has taken the Senecas to many disaster responses around the U.S. — then in 2022, they were invited to help in Poland to assist with Convoy’s response to the war in Ukraine. Even with language barriers, there were emotional connections that reminded them of home.
They met a Ukrainian refugee who had fled to Poland with his wife and four children; Dianne and Randy could imagine how difficult that situation would be.
“We have four kids,” said Dianne. “How would that affect us if we had to pack up everything where we didn’t speak the language?”
“Every deployment has something … the people and you can hear their stories. Sometimes, [they] just need someone to talk to,” said Randy. “Show them somebody cares.”
Now, the couple will go anywhere in the world and drive any distance within the U.S. to serve. For those who want to volunteer, they recommend having an open heart, and giving both time and resources to those in need when the call comes.
“We just make that a priority,” Dianne said. “It’s this complicated feeling: you don’t look forward to disasters happening, but we look forward to serving!”
To start your volunteering journey with Convoy of Hope, click here.
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