She claims it was “almost heaven” for her first 21 years. Though it may also apply to her state of mind, what Lisa McGraw was referring to is West Virginia, where she grew up and also where she studied computer science in college (WVU).
Then, before coming to California in 1997, she lived for a spell in Washington, D.C.; North Carolina; Munich, Germany; and near Atlanta, Georgia. She worked as a computer programmer for GEICO and AT&T before turning her attention to her family (three kids) and to becoming a “volunteer extraordinaire.”
In fact, SAR, wasn’t her first gig on the work-for-free spectrum. She also worked in schools, churches, and with Scouts. She tutored adult literacy and she answered the crisis line for Tri-Valley Haven. Then, in January 2010, she became a SAR team member.
Lisa loves to travel and enjoys the outdoors, and lists listening to music in Ireland, touring ancient Grecian ruins and rafting down the Colorado River as some of her various adventures combining both pleasures. Her family of six includes husband, three adult children and two (spoiled, she says) cats.
Like her cats, Lisa is curious, and she pays attention to detail, which serves her well as a SAR member. And SAR has given her some new skills, too, from knowing how to dispense oxygen to rappelling, which she says “has really helped me to push my boundaries.”
She says she always tries to remember to keep in mind the mission—why we do what we do—as SAR members. As for what she has gained, she says, “I am grateful to the team for the challenges thrown my way; it translates to all areas of my life.”