WOW, taking these words Making A Difference is My Mission, is my meaning of the word volunteer. This word volunteer is like a virus that runs through my body in a good way.

The virus I have come to know, and love is incredible, and I Love it. I hope by sharing that I can give it to you today. Once you get this volunteer virus, there is no cure for it. For years I have been volunteering since 1975, when it started with Cystic Fibrosis. Over the years volunteering just grew and grew to other volunteer service work. In 2003 with my agency I received the Willis Greene Community Service Award. The award is given to someone in our agency, for doing outstanding service work outside of our agency. I have always had this saying, “Never Forget Where You Come From and also Help Those Who Need Help”!!!

For some odd reason I tend to look for the opportunity to serve others. I have learned over the years that if I can help others and giving them joy, happiness, to see a smile on their faces, gives me so much joy. In 2004 I joined the Park Police Volunteer Association.

With them I was the president for 5 out of the 7 years, 4 of them in a row as the president. In the 7 years I received the Commander’s Award twice, and Volunteer of the Year Award twice. In 2008 at work I joined as a member of the Disaster Team. After a year because our department was so busy, I could never get a chance to help on any disasters. So later in 2008 I joined the Red

Cross as a Disaster Response Member. Throughout the years with Red Cross I was a Trainer, Emergency Response Vehicle Driver, Shelter Trailer Driver, and Shelter Manager. I also sat on three boards. In 2010 because I like helping people, I started my own business teaching First Aid, CPR & AED. In 2012 I joined a group called NorthStar Global Response, and we were going to respond to disasters International. My team and I went to Haiti to teach the Haitians on how to do Search and Rescue, and Swift Water Recue for two weeks for 50 people. In 2012 also I started speaking at events to help the Transgender Community, to find peace and encouragement that they can have a happy life. I would speak to non-transgender people to get them to understand the community. In 2019 two Transgender sex worker women were murdered, and I was asked by Prince George’s County Police if I would help try to get the women get off the streets, and I agreed to help. Right now, I do ride-a-longs with the police talking with the ladies. Now I will be volunteering with Department of Justice / Community Relation Service working with other police officers, going around the country talking with other police officers. We want to bridge the gap between the transgender community and the police. For some odd reason still, I cannot say no when asked if I will or would help. A month ago, I was asked by my church if I would sit on the church council over seeing Technology and Communication while still doing security. After I told them I wanted to pray about it, a few days later I said yes. I feel for me, “Making A Difference is My Mission,” and this is just another way of helping. I hope by me telling you my story that I have now infected you with this virus into your blood system called Volunteer!!!

You can find my talk when you Google my name. You can email me at or visit my personal website at In my next article I’ll talk about “Will She Find It”. Until then Shoot for the Moon and even if You Miss, You’ll Be Among the STARS!

Author Profile

Karen Kendra Holmes
Karen Kendra Holmes
Karen Kendra Holmes works for the Federal Government as a Safety Officer. Besides her full- time job with the Federal Government she is a part-time radio host on WPFW 89.3 FM on the “Inside Out LGBTQ Show” on WPFW 89.3 FM. She also writes a column for Baltimore OUTloud under the column called “Trans Lives”. Karen received the Engendered Spirit Award from Capital Pride on June 7, 2018. She also was a TEDx Speaker with TEDx Asbury Park, NJ on May 19, 2018. In April 2017 she received the “2017 Monica Roberts Advocacy Award”. She was selected in January 2017 by LGBTQ Nation as one of the “Top 50 Successful Transgender Americans You Need to Know”. In May of 2015, she was honored in a special edition among 41 other women from around the world in The Platform Magazine, for up and inspiring females who have made a difference with their platform and inspired others with their positive values towards others. In April 2014 she received the “Willis Greene Community Service Award” and the “Unsung Hero Award-Team” by the Corporation for National & Community Service. In October 2013 she received “Soldier of the Year”, out of the country, by the State Guard Association of the United States out of 24 states and 23 thousand soldiers. In December 2012 she received “NCO Soldier of the Year” by the Maryland State Guard Association and The Maryland Defense Force. She was selected in August 2012 by The International Women’s Leadership Association, "A Woman of Outstanding Leadership in the Business Owner Division".

With the Maryland Defense Force under the Maryland National Guards she was a Staff Sergeant with Force Protection, the Chaplain’s Unit as a Chaplain’s Assistance, Honor Guard, and MWR. She has been doing volunteer work with the American Red Cross for the National Capital Region since 2009 on the Disaster Action Team. For several years, she has been volunteering with Community Emergency Response Team (CERTs) in Prince George's County, MD, and also with the Medical Reserve Corps. She sits on the board for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in Prince George's County, MD. Karen also use to sit on the board for DC Metro PFLAG working with the Transgender Community. She is now the chapter president of the Transgender Veterans Support Group (TVSG) for Maryland. Before Karen’s transitioned, she previously volunteered with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission Park Police Prince George's County Division for 7 years, 5 of them as their President, and received several awards for her service, such as two Commander’s Awards and two Volunteer of the Year Awards. In December 2005 she received the Governor’s Crime Prevention Award for her outstanding work and leadership with Park Police Volunteer Association. She has her own side business called SafetyFirst DMV and is certified as an instructor through the National Safety Council (NSC). Karen believes whole heartedly in the importance of and Giving Back to her Community.