Johnson Lane Journal: Volunteering isn’t just for veterans
November 9, 2017
Happy Veterans Day to all of my brothers and sisters of the Uniformed Services. Thank you all for your service to the country. This month I want to discuss the gift of giving of yourself to the greater good. Veterans have stepped up to the plate and volunteered by potentially giving up their lives in defense of the country which is the ultimate sacrifice.
We can all step up to the plate without committing to that ultimate sacrifice by volunteering in our local community. According to USATODAY "Citizens of Utah, Idaho, Minnesota, Kansas and Wisconsin are leading the way in overall volunteerism while Louisiana, New York, Nevada, Florida and Arkansas remain the least philanthropic for the second year in a row" – Natalie DiBlasio, USA TODAY 12/16/14. In 2015 Nevada ranked 48th out of 50 states with a percentage of 19.61% in 2015 according to nationalservice.gov website.
I encourage you consider volunteering in an organization that suits your interest. Volunteering can provide many benefits. You will make new friends and increase your network circle. Learn new tasks and build up your confidence. Donating your time can give you a great deal of satisfaction knowing you are helping others.
Here are some worth organizations locally for you to consider: Young at Heart Senior Citizen's Club of Douglas County, Friends in Service Helping, Salvation Army, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), American Legion, or Welcome All Veterans Everywhere (WAVE). Active Volunteers of Douglas is a great resource website that you can find at http://douglasvolunteers.org/volunteer-organizations/. The website has an extensive list of organizations that could use your efforts and talents. If you would like to get involved directly with veterans, The Nevada Department of Veterans Services offers the Nevada Veterans Advocate program. You can find out more at the following website: http://www.veterans.nv.gov/page/veterans-advocacy.
I know the arguments as I have used them myself. I don't have the time. My life is too busy, maybe I don't know how to do a task, etc. Take baby steps, maybe you don't know how to do some administrative functions, but if you assist someone they will gladly show you how it is done. Then you can gain confidence in the task. It takes a lot of courage to try something new but the reward can have a huge impact on yourself and others.
Many of these organizations are held up by the same individuals year after year. It is easy for a volunteer to burn out if they feel they are the only ones that care about the organization. New members are the life blood of a volunteer organization. New members bring enthusiasm and a new outlook.
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I know a lot of retirees that say they are busier now than when they were working. If you are one of them then thank you for all your hard work and dedication. With a little hope and determination, we can lift our states participation rate up a peg or two. Frankly I would be happy if we could get up to the 25 percent rate. Without people paying it forward our community would not be the gracious, giving community that we all love.
My final thought on this Veterans Day is to ask you all to not only thank a veteran but to extend that appreciation to our first line responders. Many of our firemen, police, medical staff and other responders all have military experience as well. The tragedies these responders experience can be just as horrific as war itself. Their contribution should not be diminished or go unnoticed. As a retired veteran I think we have room to welcome them into our day, and tell them thank you for their service also.
Please send any announcements or organization information to Johnsonlanejournal@outlook.com.