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Prime Time: Volunteers are friends in service

From left, Ruth Barden, Yvonne Barry, Agnes Zarling and Iliene DeVries accept the 2011 Volunteer Hall of Fame Award from Lutheran Social Services Senior Nutrition Program in recognition of their volunteer commitment and dedication to service of seniors in the community. Submitted Photo

A volunteer is a selfless, special kind of person.

The true human spirit comes out to offer a helping hand where there is need with no expectation of pay or recognition. The person does it for the sole purpose of giving of themselves without anything in return except the knowledge that the world is a better place because of what they give.

It shows when there is a natural disaster or accident somewhere, but most of the time, it goes without notice, just in the way people help each other day by day. It may be at a hospital, food shelf or animal shelter, but it is also in many areas in the community that we don't see. There are volunteers at schools reading with children, delivering meals on wheels, or helping a non-profit organization. People volunteer to help a neighbor shovel out from a snow storm, give vegetables from their garden to others for good nutrition or even just to hold the door for someone else at the store. Volunteering is kindness to others in the form of respectful acts.

Bemidji has a spirit of volunteering within its community that some other places do not possess. We might take it for granted here, but we have something very special and unique. There are good people in the world, but I think there is a special warm glow in the Bemidji area, caused by volunteering. It brings about a feeling of community belonging that doesn't just happen; it has to be created by people who care.

For those of us who are the recipients of the kindness, respect and love of a volunteer, be sure that you notice, appreciate their efforts and offer the magic words of "Thank you." Those words may be small, but they have a huge impact, letting the volunteers know they are appreciated. Without them, our world would be so different.

Take a moment to think about it How negative or hurtful would our world be without the kindness they offer? The phrase "Thank you" is the fuel they need to keep going on their tireless journey of making our world a better place for all.

Volunteers give time and energy but the most precious gift they give is love. Please take notice of the volunteers around you and let them know how much you appreciate them.

So if you have volunteered in the past or if you volunteer now in any form in our community, thank you for making the world a better place for all of us to live in. We really do appreciate what you do.

The Paul Bunyan Senior Activity Center is located at 216 3rd Street NW, Bemidji. If you have any questions, please call 218-751-8836.


DIANE ENGEL is executive director of the Paul Bunyan Senior Activity Center.