Column: Be one of the most valuable citizens

Apr. 04, 2014 @ 05:30 PM

Who are the most important people in a community?

Some would say the company owners and company officials. Others would say government leaders, while still others would mention teachers, police and fire staff.

All important and certainly all add to the success and vitality of a community. It would be hard to imagine Caldwell County without any of those dedicated residents.

But I would venture to say the most important person in Caldwell County is a volunteer. Without volunteers imagine what would not happen in our community. Who would lovingly help a family and patient in hospice care? Who would label and mail the monthly chamber of commerce newsletter? Who would staff that wonderful gift shop at the hospital? Who would mentor a student who desperately needs the time and approval of an adult? Who would be a lunch buddy? Who would help someone with a wig or cancer information at the Wig Bank of Caldwell County?

And the list goes on. Thousands of volunteer hours are donated each week. These are payroll hours that would be worth millions of dollars each year. These volunteer hours frequently determine whether a non-profit organization survives or not.

And who can volunteer? Everyone!

Everyone can spare an hour or two each week. In fact the busiest people I know are some of the most committed volunteers, so please don’t say you don’t have time. A variety of skills are needed. And everyone has some skills that we can use, whether it’s listening to a grade-school student read or pulling weeds at a community garden. Nearly every organization in Caldwell County needs more volunteers, so don’t be shy. These agencies all provide training and support, and you’ll meet some great people.

For instance several organizations that I am involved in need more volunteers. The Wig Bank of Caldwell County operates 100 percent with volunteers, and we need help keeping the house open on Monday and Tuesday mornings. Some of our volunteers work weekly, while others work once a month. Some dust and vacuum, others help on the computer, while others greet and help visitors. Call Doo Howarth at 726-9111.

Communities in Schools is always looking for volunteers to mentor students and be lunch buddies. You don’t have to have a college degree to mentor students. They need a friend and someone to listen to them. Call Debbie Eller or Donna Bradshaw at CIS at 759-2852.

If you look in the front of the telephone book, there is a listing of many of the non-profits. Pick one that interests you and call it. We need volunteers of all ages and all backgrounds. The younger someone starts the better.

April 6-14 is National Volunteer Week. A special time to say thanks to our many volunteers!