Energizer Bunny protege: Co-founder of Gloria's Angels keeps going and going and ...
By JACINDA HOWARD
Federal Way Mirror Reporter
June 2, 2009 · Updated 1:35 PM
Federal Way resident Doug Strauss, 34, has been called energetic and non-stop, but not until recently has he been likened to the Energizer Bunny.
Strauss is one of 100 finalists in the Energizer Battery Company's Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame. The contest recognizes nominees nationwide for their perseverance, motivation and dedication to helping others.
Strauss, his wife, Kristen, and business partner Bob Turner operate the non-profit Gloria's Angels. Volunteers perform routine daily tasks for families so that they may care for ill loved ones. The non-profit was started after Doug's daughter, Gloria Strauss, 11, lost her four-plus year battle with neuroblastoma — a form of cancer — and passed away in September 2007.
Gloria's courageous fight inspired the Strauss family. During their times of hardship, community volunteers and friends helped by performing tasks such as cleaning their home, doing their laundry or caring for their lawn. Now, Gloria's Angels repays the debt and pays it forward by organizing small volunteer teams.
"Ultimately, the thing you can't have back is time and when you lose a loved one, like we did with Gloria — there's really no regrets in our family," Strauss said. "We had time to care for her, time to love her, time to be with her and that's the ultimate goal — to always get families time with their loved ones."
The non-profit has assisted 25 families since it began. One local success story includes more than 80 meals, 40 hours of lawn maintenance, 100 hours of child care and $6,000 raised for a benevolent fund.
"When the world is kind of collapsing, we are growing," Strauss said.
The Energizer semifinalists were nominated for the competition. Of approximately 1,000 entries, judges narrowed the selection to 100, said Samantha Fisher, Energizer Keep Going Hall of Fame spokeswoman. The judges were looking for individuals with stand-out qualities, she said.
"We were looking for people with the same characteristics as the Energizer Bunny," she said. "It's really just about living life with passion and energy."
Strauss resigned from his position as head basketball coach at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Burien, shortly after Gloria passed on. He misses the kids and playing ball, but the time to return is not right yet, he said.
"I left teaching and coaching to start Gloria's Angels," Strauss said. "Coaching was a passion. Teaching was a passion."
The non-profit and family are the important things in life. Strauss also helps a friend who is recovering from an addiction. He finds himself always on the run, trying to keep up with his six children — ranging in age from 2 to 15 — as well as his non-profit and business counseling.
"I'm actually kind of involved in whatever God calls me to," Strauss said. "There's a lot of time to rest when we're in heaven. I kind of live moment to moment."
Strauss and the other semifinalists will experience a second judging phase to narrow the candidates to 10. A public vote will determine who takes the title. The winner will receive $10,000 in cash, plus $5,000 to be donated to the winner's charity of choice. Online voting begins June 26 and concludes Aug. 7. Strauss is the only Washington state candidate in the running. The $5,000 will go toward Gloria's Angels if Strauss wins, he said. The $10,000 will be swallowed by a family outing, braces, meals and other typical family expenses, he said.
"If you vote for me, first of all 'thank you,' it's not just me," Strauss said. "To vote for me is knowing you are doing the right thing. The person you are voting for is doing the right thing in life."
The winner of the Energizer Keep Going contest will also be recognized in September in St. Louis. Baseball's Cal Ripken Jr., the inaugural member of the event, will take part in the ceremony.
"We're really happy to have a way to recognize people for the energy that they live their lives with," Fisher said. "(The recognition) honors them and really inspires other people."
Calling attention to the semifinalists is also a way to let their communities know about the efforts they put forward, Fisher said.
"These days, people want to tell stories about people who are doing good and making the world a better place," she said.
Check it out
Beginning June 26, the public can vote for its favorite of the 10 finalists online at www.energizer.com/halloffame.Contact Federal Way Mirror Reporter Jacinda Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or (253) 925-5565 ext. 5052.