“Almost,” I replied picking up my purse. We were off to the VFW for another Friday night dinner; not for eating out, rather for serving and cleaning up, as volunteers. There has been other service over the years: the elementary school where our children attended, church doing assorted activities, teaching, being chairpersons; and other activities in our community.
Our local VFW hosted many volunteers who were in their mid-seventies. Some, like our fifteen year Auxiliary President, was seventy-nine. Still every week she planned, prepared, and helped serve the weekly Friday night dinners to our community, as well as, planned for special events like weddings and retirement dinners.
There is much to learn from these loyal, dedicated VFW members. They worked tirelessly week after week, month after month and year after year, to keep our VFW Post running smoothly and successfully. They were a vital, important part of our community. Their involvement kept them active and healthy. They were so busy being “busy” they didn’t reflect on their age or that society said they should have been taking life easy. Some say they worked harder volunteering than they did when they held a full time, paying job! Their zest for life reached out to the younger generations who came to visit and enjoy the weekly meals. The money raised went to a variety of non-profit groups and student scholarships, so they were being productive in yet another way.
At our local elementary school, volunteers come in to help teachers run copies, make cut outs, do bulletin boards, read to the children and other assorted duties that doesn't necessarily require specific teacher attention. Teachers count on parent support and help because their time is best spent with the children they are trying to teach.
Churches also have a need for volunteers. There is yard work, janitorial services, sitting on committees, leading groups of different ages, teaching classes, child care during services, secretarial opportunities depending on the size of the church, and so much more.
Many of our fire fighters across this nation are volunteers who are often forgotten. We just know with complete certainty that if we call 911, someone will respond. The attitude with many people about our fire fighters abruptly changed after the events on 9/11.
There are hundreds of ways a person can volunteer, if so inclined. Health services, library activities, youth involvement, animal and environmental causes, aiding the elderly and shut-ins, and children’s services are only a few of the options available.
Volunteering is an antidote for many of life’s problems. People usually volunteer in an activity they enjoy and in this way, make a difference. When improving another’s life, their own is enhanced. That is often payment enough. And when a person volunteers, he does so with his heart usually doing the best job possible with the skills, talents, energy and time he has, deriving simple satisfaction from a job done well. This is what makes volunteering so special. It’s being a good neighbor and citizen. It’s doing what we were created for: making a positive difference in the lives and world around us.