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Employees

It all started with a mistake

Thomas Siber Tischer from the Wolfsburg plant is just 29, but he has headed the Technical Relief Agency in Wolfsburg on a volunteer basis for almost six years now.

The beeper goes off. Thomas Siber Tischer immediately contacts the municipal fire department for details. He then asks his boss at the Volkswagen power station if he can head to the Wolfsburg office of the Technical Relief Agency (THW), a Germany-wide civil protection organization. That has never been a problem, he says. “My colleagues and supervisors not only understand, they also actively support my volunteer service.”

Thomas Siber Tischer joined the THW in 2009.

Siber Tischer is just 29, but has already spent six years directing the local chapter of the Technical Relief Agency (THW), which provides disaster relief with both equipment and expertise. A few weeks ago it went into action in response to flooding in Wolfsburg and also in neighboring cities such as Wolfenbüttel and Hildesheim. The Wolfsburg THW chapter pumped water out of cellars and shafts, and helped to fill and transport sandbags. Siber Tischer, who is German-Brazilian, put in 950 hours of volunteer work for the THW last year – most of it in his free time. He represents the Wolfsburg chapter, plans, supervises, and joins in on work details himself. “I really enjoy it,” he says.

» Colleagues and supervisors support my service. «

How did it all start? In 2009 Siber Tischer committed to four years of civil service with the THW in place of military service. “And I thought I would stop at the end of those four years,” he says. But he was mistaken. A comprehensive basic training program that included woodworking, metalworking, and stonecutting appealed to him right away. And with the success of the THW’s federal youth training camp, held in Wolfsburg in 2010, Siber Tischer realized he was fascinated by the organization’s camaraderie and work. So he has no plans to stop, especially since his wife and sisters-in-law also wear the blue THW uniform from time to time, and the rest of his family support the volunteer work of their “international Volkswagen baby.”

International Volkswagen baby? Siber Tischer was born in Curitiba, and his mother Monica worked at Volkswagen do Brasil. Thomas was 11 years old when the family came to Germany for professional reasons. He quickly learned German and later trained at Volkswagen as an electronics technician for automated systems. Today he works on supply systems for the Wolfsburg plant, including helping to ensure the supply of drinking water and cooling water. His free time is spent largely with the THW, whose motto is “The desire to help is good, the ability to help is better.”