Volunteers are crucial to a community

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Jimmy Higdon

State Senator

On a recent trip to Raleigh, N.C., I saw a statue dedicated to the Good Samaritan. Of course it called to mind the parable in the Bible about the Samaritan who graciously cared for the wounded beggar on the side of the road.

But it also reminded me of all the folks today who give of themselves to make a difference and strengthen their communities. Our volunteers.

Webster defines volunteers as individuals or groups who give their time, talent and abilities to a cause they believe in, without pay.

That’s a good definition, but it doesn’t quite capture the far-reaching impact of volunteers. Just think of all that volunteers do for our community. The festivals, fairs, parades and pageants they organize.

The Little League sports they sponsor. The campaigns they work. The groups they support: Red Cross, Arts Council, Human Rights Commission and others.

And then there’s that very special group in our community — volunteer firefighters. Unlike most volunteers, they risk their lives every time they answer a call. We sometimes take them for granted, holding them to the same standard as those who make firefighting their career.

Volunteers make this community a great place to live, work and raise our children. Without them, we would be lost.

But if you talk to a volunteer about all they contribute to the causes they serve, you will likely hear more about what they receive in return than the difference they make for others.

Whether they are driven by a passion, motivated to make a difference or repaying a kindness once given to them, volunteers will say the old adage “give and you shall receive” rings true.

No matter the reason those in this community give of their time or money, I am grateful.

As entertainer Danny Thomas once said, “all of us are born for a reason, but all of us do not discover why.” Each of you who volunteer have discovered why.

I hope one day we can have a tribute here like the one I saw in Raleigh.

It could say something like, “Our community honors the many Good Samaritans who make this an outstanding place to live.  We appreciate the countless acts of selflessness that occur here daily.”

It has been said that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Volunteers prove that is true.

Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.

For those of you already out there working and serving, thank you. For those of you not yet involved, volunteer today.  Your community needs you.