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In Your Opinion: Volunteerism … The Quiet Engine That Keeps Franklin Running

By Bill Connell, Somerset.

Twelve years ago my kids were growing up and professional circumstances changed. It allowed me to step out into community. I have lived in my current abode for 22 years but the first 12, I was only recognized by my dog. Nobody knew me.

Then around the same time, over-development threatened my community and my older daughter entered Sampson G. Smith. She tried out for play. The rest as they say is history. Educating myself on local government and set building were not even on my list of things to do in 2005. What I do is not saving lives like a fireman or an EMT. I am not taking personal risk like a councilperson or school board member. I am not coaching a sports team, or helping feed people through the food bank. Yet it is still volunteerism. It is doing something different from sitting on your couch, and improving the quality of life in Franklin in a small way. I will say the couch gets more appealing as I age.

Volunteering for organizations like kids’ sports, or even government, you have to be aware you a just a steward. You are a caretaker to a group that was here before you and hopefully will be here when you are gone. Forty years ago, my father was a passionate little league coach and outspoken parent. Nobody remembers him but I can tell you there is at least one person like him every year since. I have Mickey Lewis ‘s voice stuck in my head from when my father argued with him. Mickey Lewis has a field named after him so we know who won the argument. Just the same, the lights that were installed recently at the field were on the wish list 40 years ago. Somewhere in heaven Mickey and my father high fived.

Even back then, there was the glory days parent who was only there to benefit their kid and gave little thought to the work it took to keep the organization running. On the other hand, I have met some great parents and my efforts have benefited from some amazing acts of kindness and community.

Volunteering is coaching, or organizing, or fund raising. but it is also helping move equipment, moving bottled water or taking on a small task to shorten a list. That way the organization will still be around in 40 years. You will also meet some amazing people along the way. Thank you to those amazing people.

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