This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA the week of 4/20/2015

America is steeped in its’ benevolence. Observe how a person or family or community is suffering and then watch how total strangers come to the aid of those in need. When I was in
Saudi Arabia and Iraq invaded Kuwait the American military poured into Arabia. Unheard of in any conflict, the American civilians living in Arabia took a leadership role and sought out military units to feed them home cooking, provide creature comforts to the troops while in the desert, allowed calls home while washing clothes and paid for everything out of their own pockets. Saudi Arams I talked to were certain that our company or the military paid for it. It could not be understood that taking care of our own was part of the fiber of being an American.
The concept of going the extra mile without expecting any personal benefit other than the feeling that what was done is right and just, is built into the American culture. This is rooted in the independent spirit that built our country. This volunteerism is with us at all levels of our nation. Service to our fellow man and thus to our country vary as much as becoming the President of the United States, being a leader in a local Boy Scout Troop, coaching a little league ball team, working in a soup kitchen or taking a morning to pick up trash from the side of a road. It has been said that if you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way. This is what defines the American spirit.
I have been asked on occasion if I ever considered running for a state office. I respond by saying that anyone that ever visited the hallowed halls in Baton Rouge and observed democracy at its’ best could not say they would not like to serve their community at the state level. Of course it would be an honor to serve in that capacity but then I temper the discussion. If we have leadership in place that is doing a good job and it has the best interests of our community and our state in their decisions, there is no reason to seek that position. Today I am convinced that this leadership is in place with our current elected officials.
When you look at the history of our country you see individuals that put the nation and their fellow man above personal gains. This started with the Continental Congress. Men that were well placed in their community; respected, economically established and well-educated risked everything through service to benefit the population of our great nation. The acts of these men led to a small militia standing fast in front of the greatest army in the world and one lone shot, the shot heard round the world, launched the American Revolution. This selfless act from volunteers, unpaid and uncompensated except for the perceived intrinsic reward that they were making a positive difference, coined the term Minute Man for their ability to mobilize and protect at a moments notice. The Minute Man spirit remains with us. The current name for these state militias, dedicated to protecting and serving ones state and country, made up of civilians who train and sacrifice personal lives for the good of the majority is today known as the National Guard.
We don’t have to look at military service to see community spirit at its’ best and we witness this in our own communities. Look at the initiative to clean our communities and thus provide a nice venue to live in. This is leadership and community volunteerism at its best. As we approach the judging of the cleanest cities in the state, the elected leadership must be proud of the volunteerism of the citizens to put our communities on the map of the state. Also, the citizens must be proud of a leadership that cares so much to promote a concept of a clean and attractive community.
It is said that our government is the people and our spirit of volunteerism is a major part of this spirit. Everywhere we look we see the unsung heroes that are out there doing their part without any expectations of compensation. This is so prevalent and molded into our country that we take it for granted. The inward satisfaction that one receives for their unsung efforts appears to be enough. I propose that like the man and woman that comes home from service overseas, we need to take a moment to say thank you to the untold millions of volunteers that love serving mankind. The volunteer would probably be quite surprised but the praise would be greatly appreciated.

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