In the spirit of volunteerism

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I had the privilege recently of attending a ceremony at the Dupont Spruance Plant, where members of the Dupont workforce were recognized for their willingness to volunteer in numerous organizations, throughout this area. It was refreshing to hear people’s stories of why they became volunteers, as well as the many wonderful contributions that each one makes in the lives of others. What you hear from a volunteer is a total different motivation for why they do whatever it is that they do. It has nothing to do with the pay, since there is none. In most cases, a volunteer will go unrecognized, but they serve because of a passion for the people served, or for the community in which they live.

My fire service career, as was the same for many others, started as a volunteer firefighter. In fact, many salaried firefighters leave their jobs after a tour of duty, and go home only to respond on volunteer fire units and ambulances. In many towns, volunteers still carry the mantle of responsibility for fire protection and emergency medical response.

Though I had the opportunity to work at fire stations in my hometown, many come from surrounding communities to work in Chesterfield. It is when they go home that some choose to serve their neighbors as volunteers. Chesterfield does still have volunteer firefighters, as well as volunteer EMS personnel. A few examples are the Enon Volunteer Fire Department and Bensley Bermuda Volunteer Rescue Squad.

We live in such a consumer-oriented society, where everyone wants all that they can get for themselves. I am encouraged when I learn about people who are willing to volunteer their time, or more than that, teach their children to give of themselves, instead of expecting others to do for them. A child that grows up being taught to serve others will have a much different perspective of their place in this world.

I want to take the opportunity in this article to thank every person who volunteers their time, talents and treasures, in order to positively impact the lives of others. For those of you that might be looking for a place to volunteer, you do not have to look far. Start with what you are passionate about, and look for places that you can help others around that passion. It might be that you just love people, and want to serve in whatever way you can. Many say, “I do not have time to volunteer.” Remember, when you coach your son’s baseball team or serve as brownie leader for your daughter’s brownie troop, you are volunteering. Start somewhere and get involved.   

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