4.20.11 – Volunteers

4.20.11 – Volunteers

The month of April is designated as National Volunteer Month.  A Presidential proclamation states that  “America’s story has been marked by the service of volunteers.  Generations of selfless individuals from all walks of life have served each other and our Nation, each person dedicated to making tomorrow better than today.  They exemplify the quintessential American idea that we can change things, make things better, and solve problems when we work together.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of our schools and shelters, hospitals and hotlines, and faith-based and community groups.  From mentoring at-risk youth and caring for older Americans to supporting our veterans and military families and rebuilding after disasters, these everyday heroes make a real and lasting impact on the lives of millions of women and men across the globe.

Last year, nearly 63 million Americans gave of themselves through service.  Their compassion is a testament to the generosity of the American spirit.  In difficult times, Americans are coming together — tackling our challenges instead of ignoring them — and renewing the principle that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper.”

There are many incredibly dedicated and generous individuals in the Oyster Bay and East Norwich who personify the selfless individuals honored in the Presidential proclamation.  Friends of the Bay’s volunteers, who come out in all kinds of weather to perform water quality monitoring certainly demonstrate dedication and selflessness.  When I call them for help with any kind of task, the response more often than not is “sure, what can I do?”  When we have our community meetings, asking for input and commentary on our State of the Watershed Report and Watershed Action Plan, the community turns out and gives informed and well thought out feedback.  Community and beach clean ups always draw large crowds.   For people who are running nonprofits, the energy and enthusiasm off our volunteers reinvigorates us.  Another group I am involved with, the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, has amazing volunteers as well.  The work that has been accomplished in the railyard, restoring trains and rebuilding the turntable, has been done almost entirely by volunteer labor.  The level of dedication and willingness to perform hard work on a weekly basis, is astonishing.

I am sure that all the agencies in town have the same feeling about their volunteers, which is a wonderful sign of how valued and appreciated they truly are!