V is for volunteerism

Eons ago, I volunteered to create a page covering activities of the people of the Marine Corps base at Quantico. In those days, many big newspapers dedicated a section of news to party events — who was seen, and with whom, and how dressed to the nines in the latest fashions they were. I titled my page, “It’s a Social World” but expanded the coverage to the many important activities and beneficial contributions made by the huge number of volunteers for the Marine Community & Navy Hospital there.

I had a column where I could address/comment on specifics as they arose. My symbol for it was derived from Winston Churchill’s “V” for Victory signature wave during World War II, with my suggestion that we again wave that mighty “V” in salute to our many, many volunteers, in all walks of life, who were making significant differences in the quality of life on the base: Red Cross volunteers, Navy Community Services, the Hotline program, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, the various wives’ clubs’ social and fundraising events . . . endless wonderful examples of making that Social World a better place. The page was a long time ago, but it was a magnificent experience.

Fast-forward to the present in Rappahannock County where I would like to take the opportunity to raise that same “V” salute to the many dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to bring a better quality of life to our citizens. Whether they be born-heres, come-heres or weekenders who eventually settle permanently here, they jump in where they see they can make a difference.

If there’s a need, they research how to come up with a solution. I went to a RappCats fundraiser last week and thought back to the time when people would wring their hands about the rampant feral cat population — until one couple, soon joined by others, decided to tackle the problem and with persistence, great resolve and creativity, managed to grow RappCats to its ongoing successes today.

Kudos as well to newly emerged organizations like Rapp@Home, or to the Plant A Row and the Backpack Program at the growing Food Pantry. Think of our wonderful volunteer fire and rescue companies! The newest I saw in the Rappahannock News is RappRespite, volunteers coming forward to assist caregivers.

There are others too numerous to mention, including the many churches. My apologies for omissions. My point is the same as one made recently at the board of supervisors’ community meeting at the Washington fire hall. Bill Dietel, among others, spoke on how special a place our Rappahannock is and how, working together as a community, not falling into attack mode as a course of action, we can focus on discovering solutions in a world that is bringing change.

What we decide to do about this coming change and how we go about making it work for us depends on us coming together now. Remember the strength and creative problem-solving of the volunteers we already have all over our beloved county. Raise that “V” now!

Sheila Dwyer Gresinger

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