|A Friend Indeed|
Text by BOOKIE BALOGH
Waldron Rhino, (real life: Walter Giesbrecht), Volunteer of the Month for November, is initially hard pressed to explain why this honor has been bestowed on him. According to him, he joined Second Life long before he actually became active, just to see what it was like. Then, in early 2008, a colleague from a nearby university came to his library to give a talk about SL and libraries, and his interest was piqued.
At that time, he met Hollyjean Allen, an event that was to be significant for both of them, and indirectly for all of us who know and care about Hollyjean. Hollyjean took Waldron under her wing, introduced him to RFL and Burning Life, and they became good friends. Most significantly, when Hollyjean became ill and was in the hospital, Waldron became an important support for her as well as a provider of communications about her health to those of us in SL.
Living ten hours from Hollyjean, he nonetheless made visits to her, first when Lena/Halden died, and later when she was in the hospital, to represent all her SL friends, staying even though she was not always aware of his presence. He also relayed to us the information that her sister posted on Facebook, to keep us apprised of her status. He says “She has been a great friend, so I was returning the favor.” In so doing, he represents all that is good and wonderful about the SL community and the close friendships that it engenders. As his nominator for VOM says, “Waldron is precious because he has been agreat friend to Holly and helped bring her back to her SL home and friends so she can resume her work with newcomers at the Welcome Center of the Learning Curve. We all owe Waldron great thanks for his generosity and loyalty to our good friend HJ. For one Avi to another, this is a great act.”
Elsewhere in SL, Waldron has not been idle. He is now in charge of the weather collection for the AVL, a role that suits his intellectual curiosity in a wide range of subjects. He continues to be active with RFL and Burning Life. Having found building to be of interest, he puts his skills to use in designing T-shirts and unusual architectural structures. For Burning Life last year, he built a trailer that looked like the starship Enterprise (the Original Show, for trekkers!). He has also become involved in helping to organize parties; his landlord asked him to build a party venue in the shape of a huge flying saucer!
In real life, Waldron is data librarian at York University, near Toronto. In this capacity, he assists students and faculty in locating data and statistical resources needed for their research. He has become involved with faculty research projects as a result, and enjoys this role immensely. He also works with IASSIST.
When not working, Waldron enjoys reading. He has wide-ranging interests, and particularly focuses on history – although he also spends time reading fiction (science fiction is a favorite, especially alternate histories and first contact stories). Music is a love of his, and typical of his approach to other aspects of life, his focus ranges from Beethoven to The Who.
We are all grateful to Waldron for his contributions to the SL library world, his very successful effort to help Hollyjean make her way back to health, and his actions in both RL and SL that go well beyond the call of duty. But being modest, as well, Waldron sent this note after receiving the Volunteer of the Month award:
Laugh, dance and be merry; Hollyjean is back!