Volunteer spirit is key asset

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 19, 2012

It is often said that small businesses are the engine that drives our nation’s economy. That is certainly true. That must make volunteers the lifeblood.

That is never more true than right here in Lawrence County.

I’ve been very vocal about how I feel apathy hurts this area, but there is certainly another side to that story.

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Volunteerism is still alive and well for many people.

As a member or participant in probably a dozen civic organizations, boards and community projects, I never cease to be amazed at how much our region is able to accomplish because of the dedicated individuals who want to see the community prosper.

The recent Rally on the River motorcycle festival, hosted by the Friends of Ironton grass-roots organization, is a perfect example.

Regardless of how you feel about the event itself, no one can question the commitment and dedication of the dozens and dozens of volunteers who make an event of this magnitude to happen.

They work tirelessly and donate hundreds of hours of their time just to bring something to the community.

It is because of the hard work of the volunteers in the group, and others who pitch in, that the Friends is able to accomplish the many things it has done including developing a “sprayground” in downtown Ironton and the ongoing massive undertaking that is the renovation of the Ro-Na Theatre.

Although the organization deserves much of the credit, volunteerism isn’t just about the Friends.

The rally volunteers included representatives from Ironton in Bloom, the Ironton Lions Club, the Ironton Rotary Club, and many others.

And that is just one event on the west end of Lawrence County.

There are countless efforts across the county — from festivals to food pantries to educational projects to church functions — that rely on volunteers.

It can be difficult to quantify the impact made by these selfless men and women, but to not consider this civic spirit a tremendous asset to the community would be a grave mistake.

But that isn’t to say that more volunteers aren’t needed. They always are. Many of the same people help drive numerous projects.

Civic groups and community focused efforts are always looking for additional support. There is something for everyone.

Volunteerism is a natural resource in Lawrence County, one as powerful as the Ohio River and abundant as the Wayne National Forest.

We need to recognize it. We need to celebrate it. We need to bolster it. We need to market it.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.