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.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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