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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • 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.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.

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