2011.06.29 Keith Pennington: Volunteering is community

Written by David Green.

The Town & Country Festival wrapped up this weekend with a near-capacity crowd on a perfect evening for outdoor fun. Many took advantage of the planned activities, left their traditional routine behind and made time to get to know their neighbors a little better at the festival. 

These opportunities don’t come along very often and they don’t happen without a lot of effort by volunteers. It was no coincidence that many of the yellow-shirted volunteers looked a little battle-worn by Saturday evening. For them the festival marked the end of months of preparation. Be sure to tell them “Thank you.”

As Colleen Leddy correctly pointed out in her “Midnight Musings” column in last week’s paper, “the essence of this town is the people.” The volunteers of the Morenci area set it apart from many larger communities. We realize that government and industry cannot provide everything needed for a strong community and that much would be lost without a strong corps of volunteers.

Opportunities to volunteer occur all year long. There are clubs, churches and service organizations that plan to serve on a regular basis. They provide an excellent opportunity to help you plug in to your community with projects and resources that accomplish things that we cannot do on our own. Get involved in service organizations.

Most often volunteers are simply people seeing a need and then filling it. The idea that “that’s someone else’s job” or “why doesn’t someone do something about that” never crosses their minds. If we pay attention we can see opportunities to serve and take note of people serving. Both are important.

I’ve noted some people serving nondescriptly in recent days. Crop Production Services sent a couple workers out with a truck picking up brush for a couple days assisting their community. They saw a need and filled it. Saturday I noticed a bunch of pamphlets blowing in the street in front of the car wash a couple of hours after the parade. It was quite a mess and then I saw a Morenci policeman park his car and work several minutes to clean it up. It wasn’t “his job” but he saw a need and filled it.

Thank you, citizens, who “see a need and fill it.” You make a difference here every day.

– Keith Pennington,

Mayor of Morenci

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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