Quietly in the Spotlight


by Derrek Butterfield, Contributor


While most people drudge through these COVID days worrying about work and school, one resident of Kitsap County has been quietly giving more than 40 hours a week of free service to five local charities and organizations. Wade Taggart, a 21 year college student from Seabeck, has dedicated two years of his life to helping others in our community. 

Taggart is part of a growing group of young people serving non-traditional missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Each weekday morning Taggart wakes up early and commutes to one of five locations where volunteers are rare and desperately needed.

The One Heart Wild Education Sanctuary, Saint Vincent de Paul’s community outreach center and foodbank, the Central Kitsap Food Bank, the mission office for his church, and the Bishop’s Storehouse (a church-owned food bank), all count on his reliability, youthful energy, and strong muscles, according to Taggart. 

Most Mormon missionaries serve proselytizing missions away from home. Taggart has chosen an increasingly common type of missionary service where he lives at home and gives service in his community. Young missionaries chose these types of missions for a variety of reasons. 

“Some people, like me, might not be the best at public speaking”, Taggart said. “Or, in some cases, some might not be able to live outside of their communities.” 

Taggart had been anticipating this calling for some time, and now with COVID-19 around and many proselytizing missionaries being stuck in their apartments, Taggart said that he “saw an opportunity and took it without hesitation.”

“Each of the places that I do service for has a story to tell and experiences to remember”, Taggart said. “All of them, no matter how long I’m there for, are memorable and give me the drive to keep going”.

“When I work at the Bishop’s Storehouse”, Taggart said, “what I do is I take carts and fill orders for people who have called ahead of time.”

“When I work at Central Kitsap Food Bank”, Taggart said, “what I do is I take donations given by the community and sometimes I go with other people to deliver food to others.”

As Central Kitsap Food Bank’s Volunteer Coordinator, Office Manager, Bookkeeper, Payroll Manager and Human Resources Manager, Jaime Carr is grateful for all of the volunteer help she can get.

“Wade Taggart helps in the warehouse loading boxes on pallets and unloading the trucks, receiving donations from people and businesses who donate, and weighing the donations,” said Carr. “He’s really shy and he used to not say anything at all, but now he talks to everyone each morning and it’s really great that we’ve reached a connection with him. He’s enjoying working here, and we’re so glad to have him.”

“When I work at Saint Vincent de Pauls”, Taggart said, “what I do is I work at the assistant’s office, the food bank, and other service stores in the area.”

When Dana Kaye, Case Manager for Saint Vincent de Paul’s Assistant Office and Food Bank was asked about Taggart, she said, “Oh, the big guy! He’s as strong as an ox, never says no, and is always upbeat. He’s great! Anything we throw at him he does.”

At all three of these locations, volunteers cancel or are unavailable for a variety of reasons, making Taggart’s reliable service all the more valuable. He’s also young and strong, and while he might not brag, he does the heavy lifting, literally. 

Taggart said he also spends one day a week at One Heart Wild Education Sanctuary where he has a calf (a baby cow) who loves him, follows him around, and likes to chew on him playfully.

“Similar to other places that I work with,” Taggart said, “what I do at One Heart Wild is I check in on the animals and provide voluntary service to wherever I am called.”

Taggart said “While I have been supporting others with my voluntary service, my parents have been supporting me and my decision to serve. Without their support and encouragement, I could not have gotten this far.”

Anyone can give service to their communities. However, the amount or level of service they give depends on their individual circumstances. Taggart’s mother, Crystal, said this of his service, “I am very proud of my son’s choice to spend two years of his life to full time service to his community. He is serving as Christ would serve if he were here.”