Dave Van Buskirk pic

I have often wondered why I see the same people volunteering in our community at various organizations.

That group of people is usually around 50 or so.

Do they have something in their genes that makes them want to volunteer, or are they a small group that has more passion for their community?

I know for me, my mother was considered to be the town “mom.” Any kid who was having a tough time at home or parents who had some kind of addiction or other issues, usually hung out at our home.

We didn’t have any money to speak of, but Mom always had a big heart for people and volunteered often. So, I guess I got the gene because I find myself volunteering more than most. 

I am writing on this topic because I would like people to understand that it takes a lot of people getting involved to make a community strong and successful.

Volunteering in a community our size is the glue to many organizations.

I realize that our community does have people volunteering, especially in sports programs for their children or grandchildren.  However, there are many other organizations that are struggling because they can’t get enough people to show up and help.

I think about the number of organizations in our community, and I am asking for you to pick just one and get involved. It not only will help our community, but there is a huge reward for you when you see the results of your help.

It really does give you a sense of worth and being a part of something important.

One of the organizations that I joined a couple years ago is Rotary. It is a wonderful organization that does so much good in our world today.

In Franklin County, we have two chapters, an AM Rotary that meets every Thursday at the SUNRISE (The Breakfast Place) at 7 a.m. and the one I go to, the Noon Rotary, which meets every Tuesday at noon at the Country Club.

At both clubs you have a meal, either breakfast in the AM Rotary or lunch at the noon club, and there are guest speakers each week on some very interesting subjects. Also, it is a great opportunity to share in fellowship and an incredible networking source.

For me, I feel passionate about Rotary because one of the causes we support is to eradicate polio worldwide.

When I was 3 days old, my two brothers came down with polio. My oldest brother lived for 4 years and died at age 13, and my other brother lived to be 62 but was severely disabled and spent the last 20 years of his life in a wheelchair.

I witnessed the struggle with polio first-hand, and it will be a blessing for the world when we see it gone forever.

The Rotary organization does so much more, including providing money for local projects like the soccer field at the Winchester park, assisting in building homes on Rotary Drive with Habitat for Humanity, supporting Huntland High School and Franklin County High School interact clubs, and providing scholarships, just to mention a few.

The Noon Rotary recently celebrated its 70th anniversary, and we have a goal this year to reach 50 members. We are currently at 43.

So, first, I would like to thank all the wonderful volunteers who do show up and help our community.

Second, I would ask anyone that has a few hours of spare time per month or who is retired, like me, to pick one organization and get involved.

It truly does help you put your feet on the ground every morning and gives you so much satisfaction when you see the results.

If you decide to choose the Noon Rotary, you are welcome to come to the Country Club on any Tuesday and be my guest for lunch. I look forward to seeing you there soon.

Dave Van Buskirk is a former Franklin County Commissioner.