It seems fitting to reflect on volunteers during Volunteer Week. Now I think we all have some idea what a volunteer is. These are people who give freely of their time and talents with no expectation of monetary gain. None! But do we really appreciate what they do?
Volunteers are found everywhere in all walks of life but I do not believe they are more evident than in rural communities. Yes they do great stuff in cities too but I believe the need is greater in rural due to the lack of services available for hire. It is said that volunteers are the backbone of a community and I truly believe that is true.
In small rural communities volunteers supplement so many services that are paid for in larger communities. They raise funds to augment health care, build buildings for many community needs and raise funds to help those less fortunate. They coach teams, run thrift stores and museums, rebuild historical sites and clean up the towns and highways. They visit the sick, the dying and the lonely. They are very good at providing events and cultural activates from concept to delivery. It is often the only way fun things will happen. Oh and they can sure put out some great food, which they often donate. They have passion.
Many volunteers are involved in short term projects, which really shows the value of “many hands make light work”. However there are those amazing people who give tirelessly to many projects and organizations often sacrificing personal time. Those are the people you know really well because they show up everywhere and not just to eat. What would we do without them? They will tell you it is all worth it. They are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and many great friends.
So this Volunteer Week, thank a volunteer. Remember they are the ones organized that great concert you went to or the class you just took. They will be there to make sure your kids have opportunities and that the teachers feel appreciated with goodies. And if you don’t already volunteer maybe this is the year to try something new, learn a new skill and meet some great people. Be part of what makes your community great. Volunteer.