A Jersey volunteer, who has been marking the first anniversary of a day dedicated to him in his honour, hopes it will encourage others to make a difference in their community.
Tom Hughes was honoured by the Mayor of Navasota, Texas with a 'Tom Martin Hughes Day' last year for his voluntary work and the time he spent educating local students.
The 19-year-old was invited back to the USA to engage with students and launch a new project within the city, but hasn't been able to because of Covid.
Tom has since moved to Italy to work for Gucci. He came back to Jersey during the pandemic to volunteer at the hospital.
Final Shift Completed.— Tom Martin Hughes (@TomMartinHughes) August 21, 2020
T-12 Hours to @Gucci, Italy.
It’s been a privelledge to be back & work for @GovJersey HCS again; working within such amazing departments such as the UTC, @DeptJersey, Pre-Assesment, Oncology & @AllisonEMills.
Stay safe everyone - https://t.co/udcnwy12mj pic.twitter.com/U4mXUbB2CH
Tom says the experience of having a day dedicated to him is still surreal:
"It's kind of surreal to have a day in the first place asides from your birthday, it's a huge honour and privilege to have a proclamation in my name."
Explaining his trip last year, Tom says he was more than happy to share his volunteering experience with those across the pond.
"Last year on the trip to Texas where the day was proclaimed, the Mayor stated that the day would not as much about me, but the importance of volunteering and charity work that I had done and to inspire people and students to engage in volunteering and charity work.
"I was invited to come to their city and meet with first responders, citizens and talk to students about the power of volunteering and being an active member in the community, and on that visit, I had the opportunity to meet with police officers, firefighters, business owners and at the same time visit a few high schools, and the day was proclaimed on that visit."
Tom says the importance of volunteering needs to go beyond the pandemic.
"Community is so important, obviously we saw the clap for carers earlier on in the year and how everyone came together to show appreciation to front line workers, but I think it’s important to continue that community spirit throughout the year and throughout the following years, whether there’s a pandemic or not."