Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Tip of the Hat to our Volunteers

Unselfish and noble actions are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls. ~David Thomas

Back in the 1980's The Atlantic featured a major cover story about cocaine use in America. According to the article, Americans were snorting, inhaling and poking one hundred billion dollars of cocaine into their bodies a year. Reading this stat incited me to write a letter to the editor about the bigger issue it represented, an epidemic of selfishness. My letter to the editor was going to use the cocaine stat to illustrate how self-centered Americans were.

But the next morning, just before mailing this letter, I heard then-president Ronald Reagan say in a speech that Americans were the most generous people in the world and that Americans performed two hundred billion dollars worth of volunteer acts per year. Wow! On hearing this, I tore up my letter and realized it was probably true. There are two cultures side by side in this country. The one is generous with both their money and time. The article on cocaine shone a spotlight on a portion of that other group. But the volunteers never stopped volunteering, wherever the spotlights went.

Volunteers wear all kinds of hats and come from all walks of life. Volunteers help keep the local race tracks running, help keep trails safe for snowmobile enthusiasts and perform all manner of emergency services, including putting their lives at risk to fight fires on our behalf. They visit shut-ins, bring warmth to nursing home residents, and pick up the litter from our highways. They transport people to vote, bring others meals-on-wheels or serve in soup kitchens, visit prisons, strive to educate individuals and businesses about taking care of the environment, and assist in our schools. Think, too, of the countless chaplains, counsellors, mentors, church workers, soccer and little league coaches. It's remarkable when you think about all the services provided by these unsung heroes.

All this to say, thank you all. We depend on you. Your labors are not in vain. Believe me, you are appreciated more than you will ever realize.

Here are some quotes about volunteers from quotegarden.com

Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer. ~Author Unknown

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. ~Cynthia Ozick

The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers. ~Everett Mámor

It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference. ~Tom Brokaw

Again, a heartfelt thank you all!

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