This column is a reprint of a column I did twenty years ago but the message is still relevant today. Thank you to the many volunteers who keep things going for everyone in this great community that we live in.
This column was inspired after I listened to the interview of past Fire Chief, Tom Sime on the radio. When asked what made him volunteer for the job and why he stayed so long, I could hear the bewilderment in his voice and although I don’t know what he was thinking for sure, I’d bet he was thinking, “that was a stupid question.” How about because it may be your house burning down or the home or business of someone you care about? How about, once a fire gets started, a whole town can be burned out? But, Tom came back with a polite, acceptable answer.
Where would we be without the fine volunteers of this community? As I was pondering that question, I remembered a column that I had read many years ago about the volunteers it takes to make a successful community. I found it after some looking and share it here with permission from Julia Cundliffe. It was written by Julia’s mother, Chris Schiesser, in the August 30 edition of the Golden Gazette in 1978.
“One of the problems that we face today is the apathy of the general public to the problems that face the world today. The news is full of the discontent of nations, the proliferation of atomic weapons, the starvation of millions on overpopulated countries, yet we go along in our daily lives as before, content with our cars, our overabundant food, our many electrical appliances as long as we have money to enjoy them.
We shuck these problems onto the shoulders of our elected representatives and contribute little to the ultimate solution of a world that is fast using up its natural resources.
How many people restrict their use of a car for short trips? How many turn down the thermostat and wear warmer clothes? How many have a backyard compost for the kitchen waste and garden trimmings? We fly to get places quicker without regard for the enormous amount of fuel consumed by planes, we indulge in overeating, in smoking and spending hours gazing at a TV screen or movie.
Our music comes on records or tapes and we have forgotten how to sing. Only a very few persist in learning to play a musical instrument with skill and enjoyment.
All this, and still we are dissatisfied, bored, ever seeking some new thrill or diversion, both loath to contribute some time to stop and consider where we are going in what may be a struggle for survival of all the values to which we cling so tenaciously.
Perhaps the damp and cool weather is affecting my thoughts, for they are as depressing as the atmosphere. However, there will soon be a renewal of winter activities of the many organizations active in this town, and each and everyone welcomes new members.
We all know and respect the fine work that they are doing for the community and the burden is still being borne by a few dedicated persons. They provide an opportunity to learn, to join in some activity and to make new friends. Read over the list of programs being offered by the Community College and attend at least one of them, note in the community calendar the meetings and performances being offered and give support to a worthwhile cause. Take time to learn a new skill or handicraft, it will bring satisfaction far more readily than any packaged entertainment. Attend a few meetings, whether they are at church, in an organization, or even of the town council or regional board. Do this, not for personal benefit, but to become informed and to appreciate the time and thought involved. It is easy to be critical but hard to offer some help and constructive ideas.
We have a good community – only your active support can keep it so.”