RANDY CORMAN: Honor city’s volunteers: they make a difference

  • BY Wire Service
  • Thursday, May 14, 2009 7:49pm
  • Opinion

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

These words came to my mind last week at our annual City of Renton volunteer recognition event. I had the privilege to emcee as we honored the volunteers who are so vital to the operation of our city government. City of Renton volunteers play such a vital part in the workings of our city government, and they ask nothing in return. In 2008, 5,390 volunteers for the City of Renton contributed more than 62,895 hours of service to the Renton community. Some of them have served for more than 35 years.

The City of Renton volunteers deserve to be recognized for the critical role they play. They are involved in every aspect of government from our boards and commissions to park projects in and working with our youth; they assist with victim services and emergency preparedness

But City of Renton volunteers are only one legion in an army of volunteers that make our overall Renton community a thriving, nurturing and enjoyable environment. Local community groups enlist thousands of volunteers to give counsel, organize, clean, coach, build, teach, inspire and much more, giving of themselves for a cause. The success of many local groups and organizations is thanks to the work of volunteers.

If all city and community volunteers were considered, the total volunteer hours could never be counted. And you could never put a dollar amount on just how valuable those volunteer contributions are. In many cases, it would simply not be possible to hire people to perform some of these volunteer functions. For instance, the City of Renton has cadres of emergency preparedness volunteers on-call 24/7, ready to take direction from our emergency services coordinator, and set up emergency radios, sandbag against flooding, run emergency shelters, and other crucial tasks. As another example, we have retirees who have worked up to 40 years in a specialized field, now lending their professional and life experience to a board or commission. This kind of commitment and expertise can often not be purchased.

The best possible way to honor those volunteers is to join them and take on a bit of the workload, even if you can only spare a few hours of your time. Each person has unique ideas and perspectives and we need widespread participation to reflect the diverse voices of our residents.

Make a real difference to the community! Explore city-related volunteer opportunities on the city’s volunteer page (http://www.rentonwa.gov/working/default.aspx?id=568). Volunteer today!

For more information contact our Community Services Department and Volunteer Program at 425-430-6600.

Randy Corman is president of the Renton City Council.


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