Dr. Jeffrey Ross details passion for Houston Rodeo volunteer work

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo garners immense success annually, largely thanks to volunteer committees. A Baylor College of Medicine surgeon and self-proclaimed “volunteer addict” eagerly awaits his return to the rodeo in March to fulfill volunteering duties.

Dr. Jeffrey Ross

Dr. Jeffrey Ross, associate professor of surgery, division of vascular surgery and endovascular therapy, began his rodeo volunteer journey years ago, starting with the medical committee, which tends to guests and visitors with cold and flu symptoms. He rotated after a few years onto the Breeders and Greeters committee, where he greeted and assisted livestock show exhibitors as they prepped to show their animals. That same season, he joined the safety committee and served as a liaison between livestock show performers and EMTs who handled injuries and emergencies.

After nearly a decade-long hiatus, Ross came back to volunteering and joined the international committee in 2016. The coveted committee requires an interview and completing a rookie year to ensure a spot the following years. The group welcomes out-of-town visitors, assists with registration and serves as interpreters for international guests. International guests may include visitors, people showing their animals and people interested in learning about the livestock and reproduction.

Ross’ fluency in Hebrew and French perfectly prepared him for this role, he said. Being from New England and visiting Canada in his young life exposed Ross to the French language. His French-speaking skills only grew as he studied the language in high school and college, and by visiting Paris several times over the years.

“I grew up at synagogue, taught surgery at the medical school in Jerusalem and still use Hebrew at synagogue,” Ross said. “I enjoy helping people visiting from out of the country and steering them in the right direction.”

While Ross enjoys the perks of being on a committee, he feels a calling to volunteer due to do the purposeful meaning the rodeo has in assisting young people with scholarships. The rodeo has generated more than $575 million in aid and scholarships since 1932. It also allows him to meet new people and make meaningful connections, which draws him back to the rodeo annually.

Dr. Jeffrey Ross has volunteered for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for nearly a decade.

“When I tell the international visitors I’m a doctor, it opens up conversation and you never know, some of these people might have a loved one in the hospital being treated here,” he said.

He refers to his fellow volunteers and visitors as family and appreciates the camaraderie.

More than 35,000 volunteers dedicate their time and resources to the rodeo every year, putting in 2 million work hours across 101 committees, according to the organization.

If you are interested in volunteering, Ross recommends reviewing the various committees to find the best fit for you. “I really believe in volunteerism. I think the rodeo is a positive aspect to the city of Houston. It gives so much, and we should give back. I love greeting people and meeting international people and am very proud of this city,” Ross said.

By Homa Shalchi