An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : Saved News Module
NEWS | June 14, 2022

NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity employee pays it forward by sharing time and talents

By NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity Public Affairs

Whether teaching the ukulele to middle schoolers or preparing lasagna for the elderly, Dave Strohsahl never turns down an opportunity to serve his community. The project technical lead for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Dam Neck Activity (NSWCDD DNA) volunteers several hours a week through his church and other organizations to show appreciation for all he has received.

A strong believer in paying it forward, Strohsahl spends much of his volunteer time working with teens, which he believes helps create the next generation of people who want to give back. As a youth leader at his church, Strohsahl coordinated several activities over the past year, including partnering with Youth Volunteer Corp Hampton Roads to collect thousands of canned food donations for a local food bank, and participating in “Lasagna Love,” an outreach program that donates baked lasagna for elderly and infirm residents of an area retirement community.

Participating in these activities, Strohsahl gets fulfillment from knowing he is helping others and also from watching the spirit of volunteerism grow in the young people he is mentoring.

“It’s neat to see youth get into it once they understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it,” he said. “Instead of it being a chore, it now becomes something they team up to do with their friends, and they put a lot of effort into because they’re helping someone’s grandma or grandpa. The things that I hear people complain about ‘kids these days,’ I don’t see that. I know these kids are smart and they’re doing a lot of good. That’s what I see.” 

Strohsahl also volunteers his time giving free ukulele lessons at his church and a local library. He began playing the instrument 10 years ago, after his father passed away and a family heirloom ukulele was passed down to him. Over the last year, when he was not working with youth, Strohsahl volunteered to transport and serve meals at the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center Homeless Shelter, and coordinated blood drives and a Walk to End Alzheimer’s on behalf of his local Masonic Lodge.

In recognition of his volunteerism, Strohsahl will receive the NSWCDD Distinguished Community Service Award during a ceremony on June 17 in Fredericksburg. The award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to their communities through volunteer service.

Ryan Berg, technical project manager in NSWCDD DNA’s Readiness and Training Systems Department, nominated Strohsahl for the award. Strohsahl previously received the award in 2019 and has remained just as dedicated to volunteer work over the past three years.

“It’s all he does,” Berg said. “He works [at NSWCDD DNA] roughly 45 hours a week, gets all of his tasks and milestones done, then he goes home and probably volunteers easily four hours a day. He doesn’t know how to sit down. He has a tremendous work ethic and he really cares about the community and those around him, to include his teammates here. If someone looks down or stressed, he’ll stop and talk to them and [cheer them up]. If he sees that someone needs help with work, he’s there to help. It’s amazing.”

For Strohsahl, being recognized by his leadership and peers is an honor, but the real reward is much more personal.

“It’s getting together with likeminded people who are also volunteering,” he said. “And when you find that the recipient is enjoying it as well, it’s a nice personal reward that you’ve helped someone. Your gifts are not any good if you just hold them to yourself—they’re only worth something if you share them.”