Column: Don’t forget to thank volunteers

Published 10:49 pm Friday, April 22, 2005

By Staff
I am sure most of you are aware that this week is National Volunteer Week.
It's a week to bring recognition to all of the volunteers who so kindly give up their free time to help others in some way or another.
There are so many volunteers in this area that it would be impossible to name every single one.
So if you know one, this would be the perfect week to let them know how much they are appreciated for the work they do.
Actually they should be recognized year round, but this week especially say a big thank you. It can go a long way.
All of the little league coaches in this area are volunteers. Baseball leagues, soccer leagues, basketball leagues you name it.
Do you realize how many people that is? Just think, there are 81 teams in the Optimist Soccer League alone with over 140 volunteers. And that's just one league!
Many of these people have been doing this for years and they do it for one reason. The satisfaction of knowing they are making a difference.
I want to recognize someone very special to me because as long as I can remember he has been volunteering in one way or another.
My dad has been a volunteer for all different types of leagues and organizations for years. He started coaching basketball for the YMCA in 1979 and coached through the 80's and 90's (he was even my coach!) and continues to referee to this day. He was also chairman of the league in 1996.
He helped build Vella Park when the adult softball league moved there and was a board member and past president for the Niles Slowpitch Softball league.
He has helped out with the Relay for Life donating all 24 hours of his time to play music for the event.
Have you ever seen the Santa in the river around Christmas time? He helps put that in with Mike Peters, Dale Peebles and Tom Bonner. A lot of other people have also helped with that over the years.
It was put in the river not only for the enjoyment of Niles residents, but for the children in the hospital. The children's wing faces that part of the river so when they look out their window, they can see Santa.
He is a member of the Elks and volunteered to help in the "Yard/House clean up" for the families of soldiers in Iraq.
He has been on the board at the United Way and was Board President in 1997-98.
He was a member of the Niles Jaycees from 1972-1977 and the Niles Lions Club from 1991-96
He was also involved in the Berrien County Safe Shelter facilitator and was one of the founding members of the rehibilitation for abusers which is an 18 week re-education program.
I could go on and on, and that's only a few of the things he has done.
In my eyes, he is a great volunteer, a great person and I want to say thank you for helping so many people throughout the years and giving up so much of your time for the sake of others!
He has got to be the busiest person I know.
When he's not working, which isn't very often, he's doing something for the community and the fact that he has done these things for so many years makes me appreciate him that much more.
All volunteers should be appreciated. A lot of what I learned in my childhood came from volunteers.
I learned how to play basbetball, softball, swim, twirl a baton and so much more from volunteers.
Thank you all for the great work you do and the big hearts you have.
Volunteers are: valuable, outstanding, loyal, unique, nice, terrific, efficient, enthusiastic, ready, sensational people.
Happy Birthday Dad!!