Allan Berger, an emergency veterinarian at Bright Eyes & Bushy Tails in Iowa City, completed the 60-hour-long training to become a Crisis Intervention volunteer in 2014. Since then, Allan has given 465 hours—about 20 days—of his time answering the Crisis Line.
“You never know what you’re going to get when the phone rings,” Allan said.
For him, volunteering on the Crisis Line means “the opportunity to step into the shoes of someone less fortunate and brainstorm ways to help.”
Allan appreciates how different his volunteer work is from his job. As a veterinarian, people come to him expecting “doctor speak” and definitive answers about what they should do to fix a physical injury for their animals. At The Crisis Center, he gets to work with clients to find a solution.
“When it comes to psychological injury, there’s rarely an easy answer,” he said. “That’s something you figure out together.”
Allan remembers a call he received from a woman who quit her job and was driving West to California. She was considering running her car into the embankment of an overpass. After listening to her concerns, he was able to convince her to keep going until she could get to Colorado, where she had friends she could stay with.
“Allan is really good at empathizing with people who are going through different major life events,” said Sara Knox, Training Coordinator. “He obviously cares about The Crisis Center a lot.”
If you ask Allan why he continues to volunteer every Thursday afternoon, he’ll tell you one simple reason: there’s a community need for it. “It’s important and somebody should do it so why not me?” he said.