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Volunteers receive more than they give

November 18, 2012

Community service has many levels, from those at the top who give so generously of their own wealth to the students who have nothing but a few spare hours to donate to the common good.

All are appreciated, and yet it is especially gratifying when those who seldom see the spotlight are recognized for giving of themselves for the benefit of others.

This week, the Community Foundation of Washington County honored four volunteers, three of whom you might not know, one of whom you almost certainly do.

The foundation’s annual People’s Choice Awards went to Jim Marshall, Ronald Wayne Taylor and Noel Williams for volunteer work that is almost literally too lengthy to mention.

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The scope of the agencies in which these three men have volunteered spans a number organizations that assist almost every demographic imaginable.

And, of course, as unsung heroes so often do, the People’s Choice winners are emphatic that they are actually the ones who benefit. “They always say, ‘You get back more than you give,’” Taylor said.

Certainly this is true, and it serves as a reminder to all those who might from time to time express disappointment with our area: The fastest way to learn to love a community is to work selflessly for its benefit.

And perhaps no one loves the community, or works harder for it, than Lou Scally of WHAG-TV and WJEJ radio. So it was highly appropriate that the foundation honored Scally with a surprise award for his commitment to the well-being of Washington County over the years.

None of the award winners went out in search of recognition. Volunteering is just something upon which every civilized community depends and in which every member of a civilized community should take part.

Our efforts might not reach the breadth of the People’s Choice winners, but every little bit that we do contributes to the whole. Most of us volunteer every day in some small but meaningful way. We might volunteer our smile or volunteer to hold open a door. And these efforts are worthwhile, because they are contagious. When we give of ourselves, others do the same.

So we urge everyone to keep track of these random acts of volunteerism. And look for other opportunities, whether structured or not, to help out where you’re needed. As the People’s Choice winners remind us, the main beneficiary of your volunteerism just might be you.

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