We can't say enough in favor of volunteering.It makes for a better community, a better world, and certainly a sense of accomplishment for the volunteers themselves. We often hear familiar complaints that "it's not like the good old days," but really, when it comes to people pitching in and donating their time and talent for the good of their neighbors and their community and sometimes mankind as a whole, there is still a healthy attitude and willingness of many people to volunteer.
In any given week, you can find them: busy, unassuming, modest, enthusiastic, just intent on doing a job that they feel needs doing. The list is endless. They are the Scout leaders, the Sunday School and Bible School teachers. They are the service club and veterans' organization members, the church workers, the homeroom mothers. They are the busy people who show up for daily or weekly assignments for Meals on Wheels. They are library volunteers and hospital Grey Ladies. They serve on consistories and boards of directors. They teach people to read. They run bazaars and bake sales or spend extra hours in the kitchen making the goodies. You'll spot them, wearing orange vests, picking up litter along the roadside. They show up on work crews to refurbish parks, churches, cemeteries. They serve at soup kitchens and food pantries. They coach kids' teams.
It's not all work and no fun. Just ask the ladies at the weekly quilting bees at churches, or the men who work at the historical society. Ask the cheerful people who help out at nursing homes and retirement centers, or those who put on benefit shows or paint the scenery.
The Jaycees, the Lions and all the other service clubs were founded on the idea of pitching in to improve one's community. Parks have been built, and churches paid off, as a result of volunteer work. Good examples of volunteer efforts around here are the Kempton Community Center; the Little League baseball field (now gone) known as Miller Stadium; the Railroad and Canal Museum in Port Clinton; the Hamburg Area Historical Society. There are many more, but volunteers do not work to get their names in print, but rather to see the end results, so I don't think they'll mind that they weren't mentioned here. However, they could show up in a future column.
Sometimes it is loads of fun, such as helping put on a minstrel show, and sometimes it is heart-wrenching, such as sitting with a gravely ill person so that a family member can go out.
We shouldn't forget that most fire companies and ambulance crews are volunteers too. How would we get along without them?
World War II was only weeks old when volunteers got busy, manning observation posts, serving on the Ration Board, sending Christmas packages to soldiers, organizing scrap drives, opening a U.S.O. center, etc.
The King Frost Parade is a tremendous amount of work, and each year the Jaycees and their cohorts pull it off. The people sitting at the curb probably don't realize how many hours they put into that yearly extravaganza. They would welcome hearing from more people willing to help.
It's good to see that people, when they see a need, are willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in. Paul Harvey, on his radio news program, liked to give examples of people rolling up their sleeves and working to accomplish something for their community, rather than "going to Washington with a tin cup," and our home folks are good examples of that. In last week's paper there was mention of the crew sprucing up the V.F.W., there at Hamburg's main intersection. The recent used book sale by the Friends of the Hamburg Library, with a handful of enthusiastic volunteers, made more than $1,350. The Hamburg Area Historical Society fixed up a house and got a museum established, and put a big dent in its mortgage, in less than two years, all with hard work by volunteers who painted, plastered, hammered, sawed, cleaned and also wrote a book!
Several groups are making an effort to bring out all that is historical or attractive or interesting about Hamburg. The Community Days and Heritage Day celebrations, struggling with weather and other factors, will become better each year, and it is all due to volunteers, and of course the people who come out to enjoy the activities.
Nearly every community has a monument, either to its veterans, a famous hero or figure from the past, or an important event. But it is the community as a whole that becomes a monument to those who live and work there, and especially to the volunteers. They don't want their names displayed, they just want their work to speak for them.
[Editor's note: The Item will be running Our Neck of the Woods columns previously printed from our archives.]