Dragon Con defines itself as a convention that welcomes everyone, respects everyone, and applauds everyone. One way that outlook manifests is through the dedicated work of the Disability Services volunteers. Among the scores of people who make up that team is a nine-year veteran, Lynda Bernhardt.
Lynda is the Disability Services manager for the Hilton Salon ballroom, one of the Hilton’s largest venues. Lynda has been spent 8 of her 9 years as a volunteer at the Hilton, assisting members with accommodations. Saturday I watched her guide almost a hundred members into the Hilton Salon for William Shatner’s panel and was struck by her ability to do her work so well. When I spoke with her afterward, she mentioned that she has never attended a panel at Dragon Con. She comes to the convention to help and serve.
Lynda’s motivation for this service derives from her personal experience. She has two children who are on the autism spectrum and when they expressed an interest in attending Dragon Con she decided not just to attend with them but to volunteer. Ms. Bernhardt believed that by engaging in and contributing to the support services offered by Dragon Con, she would be in a better position to help her sons get the most out of their experience.
“You have to love it” she declared. Further, she argued, it is teamwork that makes Disability Services in the Hilton function efficiently. She credits both the Tech Ops and Safety teams for their contributions to the mission. “We’re a team,” she declared, working together to create the best possible experience for those they are charged to serve.
I have long been amazed and inspired by the volunteers who make Dragon Con run smoothly and in particular those dedicated volunteers who execute the mission of Disability Services. Lynda Bernhardt and her team in the Hilton exemplify the very best of Dragon Con. Here’s to you!!