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Talking It Over -- Volunteers a key component in communities

Volunteerism is an important part of our culture, heritage, and very existence. Without volunteers there are many institutions, programs, and services that would not exist. They are often the most under-thanked, unappreciated group of individuals.

This week we have been observing National Volunteer Recognition Week. What better time to say thank you to the many people who are the key to our survival and way of life.

Let's take a look at just a few examples of volunteers at work in our small towns:

• Have you admired the prompt, life saving efforts put forth by our volunteer fire departments, EMTs and area First Responders? They are instrumental in saving lives and property.

• When you attend the church of your choice, was the carpet cleaned, coffee served, ushers greeting you and were there plants or flowers beautifying the altar? Did you read about various committees who met during the week or did your child go to Sunday School? Most, if not all, of these activities were made possible with volunteers.

• As you drive through town, have you noticed some of the extras volunteers have added - trees on the boulevard, flower beds planted, and garbage picked up?

• Did you enjoy town celebrations held during the year? The parade, street dances, fireworks and meals are all put forth by volunteer help.

• Volunteers dedicate many hours in our classrooms helping teachers with special projects, events, or daily work. Our school programs are made extra special through the help of many hands.

• Our senior citizens get some much-needed transportation, food, and visits from many caring individuals whose only goal is to help another individual. At the same time many of our senior citizens also spend hours volunteering their own time.

These are only a few examples of our important volunteers. They dedicate many hours and sometimes several dollars to make our community run smoothly. They provide a multitude of services from working with youth to aiding the sick and hungry.