A Presidential Award for Answering the ‘Call to Service’

Bill Decker on the Haitian coastIn September of this year, Bill Decker (F’97) was honored with the President’s Call to Service Award for his volunteer efforts with international humanitarian relief organization ShelterBox USA. The award is bestowed upon individuals who have logged more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service.

It was in 2008 that Decker first became involved with ShelterBox, which provides humanitarian aid—such as emergency shelter and other supplies—for families to rebuild their lives after a disaster such as earthquake, flood, hurricane, cyclone, tsunami or conflict.

“I discovered the charity through a presentation to my Rotary Club, and immediately took to the impact and accountability inherent in the model,” he said. “I applied to become a ShelterBox Response Team member; to actually deliver the aid into disaster zones. After a lot of training—and many vaccinations—I began to deploy into the field.”

Decker has since been deployed four times to assist families affected by disasters such as the Haitian earthquake in 2010 and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. He went on to serve on the Board of Directors for the U.S. affiliate of the charity, assisting with raising funds and support. He is currently on the Board of Trustees for ShelterBox Trust UK.

Call to Service Award pin

The pin for the President's Call to Service Award signifies the completion of more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service.

Decker is also president of The Hub Centers for Meeting and Collaboration, which he co-founded with fellow School of Foreign Service classmate John New Jr. (F’97). The Hub provides productive meeting experiences, helping organizations accomplish and exceed meeting goals. Decker explained that his experience at Georgetown made him to want to help others. He was especially excited about an opportunity to do that with ShelterBox, since it meant he could do volunteer work abroad without having to change his career path as an entrepreneur.

“This recognition by the President of the United States is a reflection of all of the hundreds of dedicated ShelterBox volunteers and staff who engage in thousands of hours to help those who have suffered so greatly from both natural and manmade disasters,” said Decker. “It is a privilege to participate in both the meaningful delivery of critical aid around the globe, as well as the governance of this world-class organization.”