Dave Hatfield: My Journey to Volunteering
Why did you start volunteering at the Ohio History Center and Ohio Village?
My journey as a volunteer started with my eldest daughter, who was in 4th grade at the time. Her class went on a field trip to Ohio Village. She came home telling me very excitedly about her day. She said I HAD to see the village. As luck would have it, the museum had a summer membership promotion going on, so I bought one to check it out. My daughter and I visited the village more days in the summer than not. We were captivated. We visited so often that village residents started learning our names. On one particular occasion, we were in the school house as the village was closing for the day. The school teacher, who knew we were there often, asked if we would be interested in volunteering. That planted the seed in our heads to go ahead and volunteer.
My daughter and I spent the next year or so going to every event the village had to offer. Volunteering was very much in the back of our heads and two occasions convinced me that we just had to go ahead and do it. One, during the Dickens of a Christmas program, my daughter and I took a picture with Marley’s Ghost. The picture of me with the Ghost ended up being blurry. I found the Ghost later in the evening, and I sheepishly asked him if I could take another picture with him, not wanting to be a bother. I barely got the question out of my mouth when the Ghost, smiling, asked if I wanted to hold one of the chains with a metal box on it. He didn’t care if I wanted to take another picture. He was so kind and gracious. The picture ended up being outstanding.
The second occurrence happened at All Hallows’ Eve. My daughter and I usually went to the dancing activity at these events, but we got side tracked with everything going on and made it to the Town Hall too late for the dancing. They had just stopped for the evening when we walked in. The lady who called the dances saw this, turned to the musicians and asked if they could play one more song. We got to dance at All Hallows’ Eve after all. I never forgot that and knew I just had to be a part of this incredible village.
What are some of your favorite memories from volunteering?
My daughter and I started volunteering in 2014 and since then it has been one great game after another. One of my all-time favorite moments occurred when I played Santa at Dickens of a Christmas. I usually make my rounds to all the buildings, which include the building where dancing takes place. When I walked in, a little girl looked at me and asked, wide eyed, “Will you dance with me Santa?” I answered in my Santa voice, “Of course I will!” The look of joy on her face at dancing with Santa Claus is something I will never forget. During the regular village summer season, two ladies walked into the funeral parlor, where I portray one of the undertakers. One asked why she saw her name. In the funeral parlor, there is a floral arrangement with the name “Ida” spelled out, and we finally had an Ida walk in the door! It was so fun describing why we had an arrangement with that particular name, and the two were captivated with everything. Their visit finished with Ida and I taking a picture with the “Ida” floral arrangement. It was a very fun day!
Another fond memory involves Pleasures of the Cup: Monocles and Brandy, which is a type of murder mystery. I was teamed up with the “Village gossip” character, my role was to try and interject information while the town gossip attempted to prove she wasn’t actually a gossip. We had a great time with the reactions from visitors as she gave me the business by shooting me down and quieting me, firmly and quickly. We were so convincing that someone actually felt the need to give me a hug on her way out of the building! They were buying what we were selling and it was amazing! I wouldn’t trade my time volunteering at the Village for anything, and I look forward to many more great memories!