Volunteers necessary for fair work

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 29, 2007

ROME TOWNSHIP — Just before lambs came prancing into the livestock arena, Robert Burcham took a water hose and sprayed the sawdust that covered the arena floor.

“This will keep the dust down,” he said.

Most days Burcham is a dad. But this week, he is ring helper, livestock committee member and jack-of-all-trades. He is one of several dozen volunteers who will be quietly behind the scenes this week making sure when the kids are in the spotlight, the beam is as bright as it can be.

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“I do it for the kids,” he said. “I’ve got kids in 4-H. This is all about the kids. If you don’t take care of the kids… well, we’ve got to. They’re our future.”

And so this week and he others life him will take care of the kids and all the little things that will make the fair an event for those kids. The show will go on, thanks to volunteers. Ticket takers, parking lot attendants, ring helpers, even donors will volunteer time, money and effort this week.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are donating money to the fair. The Grand Old Party gave $1,000 to help buy trophies. Their counterparts on the other side of the aisle will buy animals and even a dish or two at the sweet tooth auction.

In the parking lot, John Carter, of First Baptist Church of Proctorville helped fair-goers find a parking space.

“There about 12 or 15 of us from the church here,” Carter said. “I did this Saturday and Sunday, too. I like to meet people. Being a preacher, that’s a good thing.”

Jessie Herrell was a 4-H-er when she was growing up. Now an adult, she still comes back to the fair to help with the sweet-tooth auction, fair queen and princess pageant and other activities. What others did for her, she will do for a new generation of 4-H kids. And she is happy to be here.

“This is my summer,” she said. “I’ve always been involved with the fair and I love it. I don’t want to give it up now.”