Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Volunteerism in American Fork

Today my blog pays tribute to the many acts of service, large and small, performed in American Fork not only during last April's Volunteer Week, but year in and year out.

Volunteerism not only makes the world a better place; it also makes us better people, keeps taxes low and gives us a way to take ownership of our community.

Now in its second year, Volunteer Week is the brainchild of last year's Miss American Fork Kaitlin Hale. The tradition has been carried forward with the help of this year's Miss American Fork, Hailee Childs. Among other things, volunteers this year pitched in to clean Art Dye Park, donate blood, wash windows, pick up litter, and raise money for the library.

At the Wednesday evening volunteer fair, speaker Leslie Dalton addressed the many benefits of volunteering, and her remarks energized us all. Recipient of the Bennion Center Continuous Community Service Award and one of American Fork's most persistent volunteers, Ms. Dalton taught us that volunteer service should help someone else, but it should change you.

She reminded us that service doesn't have to be big to mean something, and urged us to let our children see us serve. "Our children often don't see our regular, scheduled service for what it is," she said. "Occasionally they need to see us putting ourselves out, jumping up to meet an immediate need, or reorganizing our time to be able to do something for someone else.

"Service to your family," she said, "should be something you foster first--then take that philosophy or ethic out into the community."

In that spirit, the City was pleased to honor several community volunteers at the Thank You Concert, the culminating event of the week:
  • Gerry & Janet Laycock -- Human Services Award, in recognition of thoughtful humanitarian service to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood, community and worldwide.
  • Steve Soderquist -- Youth Services Award, in recognition of efforts to improve the lives of youth at the American Fork Library and Learning Center
  • Sharon Kettle -- Rising Star Award, in recognition of volunteer spirit to the community through contributions made to the Meals-on-Wheels program
  • Charles Funke -- Good Neighbor Award, in recognition for quietly volunteering to make his neighborhood a beautiful place to live
  • Cindy Holindrake -- Outstanding Board Volunteer Award, In recognition of exemplary volunteerism to the community through service on the American Fork Arts Council and Cemetery Committee
  • Beth Bigelow -- Arts and Culture Award, in recognition of selfless volunteerism to neighborhood and community to preserve our culture and history through small acts of kindness.
To these and to all American Fork's volunteers, I add my own thanks here at the blog. Whether you participate on one of the City's many volunteer committees, speak your mind at City Council meetings, or watch out for your neighbor's needs, you're making American Fork a better place. You're making this the kind of city we all want to live in.


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