I have served on the Omak City Council for approximately seven years now, and the one major item that continues to astound me is our volunteers.
I am completely surprised on a regular basis by the civic-minded citizens of our city and county.
Volunteers come in all sizes, all genders, all ages, and are taken for granted way too often. Volunteers come from all walks of life – the poor to the wealthy, the unemployed to city workers and elected officials. These volunteers are the people who get things done, who make our little city a great place to live, who work through thick and thin to accomplish goals without pay and sometimes without appreciation.
How many of you out there know how many hours of volunteer work are donated by our city mayor, our city administrator, city council members, city employees or local community leaders? I really think everyone would be extremely surprised by the hours provided by those mentioned above or the dollar donations made by the same to support our communities’ growth.
Volunteer work is done without a paycheck and is usually added to the hours in a day when you are being paid to do a job. Retirees who volunteer find out quickly how much busier they become once they retire. But new blood is needed in our volunteer pool and I encourage everyone to consider joining in.
As many of you are aware, I have been working with a committee of seven volunteers to build a dog park, on donations and volunteer time only, with no cost to the city budget. During this project I have seen the real kindness of our local businesses and citizens, both in time and in dollars in an effort to see growth in our community.
But just when I think I am ready to throw my arms up in the air in disappointment in our youth, who seem not to care about anything, I get a lesson. Yes, 10 to 20 percent of our youth do care and do give, but my lesson was unexpected. Four boys – one of which was my stepson – who seem to care about nothing but girls, skateboards and themselves, got together and volunteered to put in posts for the dog park. My eyes were wide in disbelief as they actually worked hard for seven hours each. With that, I say thanks to Nick, Cody, Tyler and Mason for giving me hope and a lesson.
Now I hear about a young man working on gathering support and dollars for a new skate park. Is the god of youth whispering in ears as I see what I have always wanted to see? Youth involvement, caring and volunteering in a positive direction. My faith in our youth volunteers has been challenged and improved, and I say thank you publicly to these young men.
Once again I say bravo to those who serve as volunteers. Continue the great work, invite others to join, and know you are acknowledged for your efforts. Let’s continue to improve and build our community, as it will be volunteers who do it.
Lew Goebel serves in Position No. 7 on the Omak City Council. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.