Opinion

May 6, 2014

Volunteering has many benefits

— Volunteers make up an often unheralded segment of our community. They fill gaps that would otherwise go unfilled.

That is why an event such as last week’s United Way of Northwest Georgia Volunteer Banquet, hosted by the United Way and the Kiwanis Club of Dalton, is so important.  It recognizes the efforts of so many who give their time to make a difference in others’ lives.

One honoree, Catherine Stratman, was honored with the Connie Woodward Award as the top volunteer in Whitfield County. She volunteered about 400 hours of service as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) at the Family Support Council.

Another honoree, Kevin Jones, was awarded the Elaine Butler Award, which recognized the top volunteer in Murray County for 2013. He donated 210 hours of volunteer time at the Murray County 4-H where he is a mentor to youth. Both of those honorees and others also earned President’s Volunteer Service Awards.

The local awards are named for Woodward and Butler who exemplified the meaning of volunteerism in their respective counties.

There were other volunteers at the banquet who received accolades and scholarships and many were given the opportunity to say thanks.

These recipients share something in common — they believe that volunteering has made a difference, both in others and in themselves. They know that volunteering strengthens the community. It makes you feel good. It connects you to people.

So whether you are a volunteer who donates time to mentor youngsters or to man the front desk at Hamilton Medical Center, or however you choose to make a difference, know that as a volunteer you are what helps make our society work and our community better. Thank you for your service.

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