It wasn’t something that Lynnsy Daltorio planned.  It just happened.  At first, she didn’t even realize she was doing it.  She said she simply saw a need and stepped in to fill it.  Three years later, helping to lead the Lompoc Valley Wrestling Club has become her passion and community service a way of life for her.

“I had admired the idea of volunteering, but I told myself I didn’t have time to get involved.  I was too busy with my own life,” she said.  Then, three years ago, the Lompoc valley was losing the local wrestling club her kids attended and she and other parents stepped up to create a new one.

“I can’t believe it, but we put that new club together in two weeks.  It was up and ready to go.”  This included a mountain of paperwork and red tape required for affiliation with USA Wrestling that Daltorio dove into and handled.  “It was hard, but now it’s my baby.  I’ve enjoyed it.  It is so satisfying to watch these young wrestlers grow into great young men and women.”

Daltorio said her first inkling of what volunteerism feels like and can mean to a community came during her first day on the job at CoastHills Federal Credit Union five years ago. Daltorio, who is a lending specialist at the Vandenberg Village branch,  said her trainers at the orientation did more than mention the credit union’s emphasis on community service, they made it clear that it is a big part of what makes CoastHills, CoastHills.  “I think it might be that our community service mentality and focus is known more internally than by the public,” she said.  “I’m not sure our communities really understand how helping others is so much a part of our culture.”  Daltorio said knowing that her employer believed in and encouraged community service helped her to embrace without hesitation the volunteer work she was doing.

Daltorio is not alone in her passion to serve.  In 2013, CoastHills employees and board members gave a combined 5,300 hours of community service, ranging from Girl Scouts, to the Relay for Life, to serving on various volunteer boards.  That number is up from the 5,004 volunteer hours in 2012 and adds up to a three-year total of nearly 15,000 hours.

Another CoastHills employee, Human Resources Officer Beulah Gentry, echoed Daltorio’s enthusiasm for giving back. She volunteered 232 hours in 2013 at the Lompoc Animal Shelter.  “When I volunteer, I get back way more than I give.  It makes me feel good,” she grinned, “so I guess it’s kind of selfish in a way. “

Alice Williams, a fellow employee and support operations officer at the Vandenberg Village branch, said her more than 100 hours of community service in 2013 were a way to stay involved in her kids’ lives. “We volunteer together at the animal shelter and I volunteer at their school.”  Williams believes it’s a win for her family and the organizations they support.

Once a year for the last two years, all CoastHills employees, nearly 200 of them, have spent a day in October making over a local school. Two years ago it was Vandenberg Middle School.  Last year, they focused on Orcutt Academy.  The work includes painting, landscaping, and more. The cost for each makeover, including supplies and the volunteer labor,  is valued at $75,000.  Jeff York, CoastHills’ President/CEO, emphasized it’s not about the count of hours or funds expended, but what the effort means to those who give, and to those who receive.

“Seeing the daily evidence of our employees’ commitments to making a difference in our neighbors’ lives is very gratifying, especially knowing that they do it with such passion,” York said.   “We encourage all of our employees from the minute they join our ranks to find a way that they can contribute—it’s one of the most important things we do as a credit union.”  York added that everyone is crunched for time, but, “when we find a way to help, we know it is time well spent.”

Daltorio’s personal experience affirms York’s position. “It’s been amazing,” she said.  “When you love what you are doing, you don’t even realize you are giving back.  I just can’t imagine any other way now.”

About CoastHills Federal Credit Union: CoastHills currently serves more than 58,000 members in Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County with 11 branches and a full service call center.  With assets of more than $720 million, CoastHills is one of the largest independently owned financial institutions on the Central Coast.