Their service has not only made a difference in the lives of others but has also caused our nation and the world to become a better place. In the spirit of building on that legacy, and in recognition of Volunteer Month, I am honored to acknowledge those who have dedicated their services to our nation and our local community.
The volunteerism spirit actually preceded the creation of the United States and became one of the foundational blocks of our American experiment of freedom and democracy. In 1736, one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, started the first volunteer firehouse. This would serve as the foundation of today’s modern-day volunteer firehouse system, with 70 percent of US firehouses being run by volunteers today. In many ways, this spirit of volunteerism would lead to the birth of our nation.
Men and women have banded together to boycott British imports and raise funds for the famous “Minutemen,” who would eventually lead the fight for our independence as a free nation. This spirit gained traction through The Civil War and two World Wars and continues today, with various organizations forming, like the Rotary and Lions Clubs, the American Red Cross, and the United Way. These organizations, with a multitude of volunteers, still exist and serve our nation and our local communities in their times of need.
Our rich history celebrates volunteerism on a national scale, but we can also celebrate it right here in Harrison Township. Our community has a multitude of residents who volunteer their time on local boards, committees, youth and athletic organizations, and as first responders. These men and women dedicate countless hours to make a difference in Harrison Township. I know they would all tell you that what they get out of it personally is very rewarding. The feeling of giving back makes a powerful impact on the human spirit. Their efforts shape this community, confirming something that I have always believed: “You can make your town whatever you want it to be.”
In the spirit of Volunteer Month, I encourage everyone seeking to make a difference in the lives of others, as well as their own lives, to volunteer. Our nation and hometown can be whatever we want it to be if we rise to the occasion and answer the call of the volunteerism spirit.