An Extraordinary Volunteer at LAA

July 01, 2010 | Jon Dickerson

All Seventh-day Adventist schools rely heavily on volunteers to make the operation of the school possible. Livingstone Adventist Academy, a K–12 school in Salem, Ore., is no exception. Few volunteers, however, can exceed the dedication of Wayne Torson. Torson has spent countless hours doing odd jobs around the school and helping his "family" next door at East Salem Church. That may not seem extraordinary, but Torson is no ordinary man.

Born on April 30, 1941, Torson was a very active child until a high fever largely incapacitated him. After his mother died, Torson became a ward of the state for 23 years, then worked at manual labor and other odd jobs until he could collect a meager Social Security benefit.

Most people in Torson's shoes might see benevolence as someone else's responsibility, but Torson believes everything he has is a gift from God and he isn't about to withhold any blessing he has from others. Despite owning a '95 Ford pickup, Torson usually walks everywhere in order to use his gas money for the school. When the school needed a new tractor, Torson was a substantial contributor. When it was decided that a finish mower was needed, Torson purchased one and even provided the diesel whenever he could.

Torson truly raises the bar for the rest of us in so many ways. His faith in Jesus Christ (of whom he often speaks) is proudly lived in action. As Jesus said, "He who is least among you all — he is the greatest," Luke 9:48 (NIV).