Volunteer work makes an impact

On Friday, Pres. Barack Obama designated April 10-16 National Volunteer Week. It’s an effort to recognize the selfless work of those who, through small and large acts of kindness alike, spend their time to help others.

“Volunteers help drive our country’s progress, and day in and day out, they make extraordinary sacrifices to expand promise and possibility,” Obama’s proclamation reads.

In the small communities of Camas and Washougal, volunteerism is active, alive and well. For many, it is simply a way of life, for others, even with hectic schedules they work opportunities for giving into their lives in meaningful ways.

In January, Camas Mayor Scott Higgins began formally recognizing some of these giving people through his Volunteer Spirit Award. Honorees have included Bill and Sherri Smith for their efforts to beautify the Camas-Washougal Municipal Court grounds, Fuel Medical for contributing Christmas decorations to Lacamas Lake Lodge, and most recently Mark Klein for his work to promote the passage of the Camas School District’s capital projects bond and contributions to the Downtown Camas Association.

Other examples of local residents’ giving ways are all around.

Inside today’s Post-Record, an article profiles Mike and Sally Bacon, of Camas, who deliver meals to homebound senior citizens in Camas and Washougal through the Meals on Wheels program.

Volunteerism has been a common theme woven throughout their lives.

“No matter where we’ve lived, we’ve always served in our communities in some way,” Sally Bacon said. “We decided when we retired that our focus of time, talent and money would be on issues of food, clothing and shelter.”

Examples of the many different ways local residents contribute time, talents and funding to help others in need are all around us. If you’re not currently volunteering, there is no shortage of ways to do so. This impact, as defined in Obama’s proclamation, can be great.

“During National Volunteer Week, let us shed the cynicism that says one person cannot make a difference in the lives of others by embracing each of our individual responsibilities to serve and shape a brighter future for all.”