Ode to Volunteers: Giving back is where it’s at

“Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another. “

Erma Bombeck

She’s standing next to you in the grocery aisle. He’s parked behind you at the gas pump. She may have helped you at the Good Neighbor Thrift Store because THEY are everywhere.  They are the people who make a community hum, identify and help the needy, disregard the greedy, focusing on their particular missions. They are VOLUNTEERS.

School districts, fire departments, hospitals, hospices, the American Red Cross, USOs cannot survive without them. Without their altruism, a community just cannot survive.

Erma Bombeck said that volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.  She was right. She must have been talking about the people in Navarre because we have a plethora of them who not only work full-time jobs but find the time to devote themselves to volunteering or once retired, return to give back again by offering their time, skills and expertise toward causes they passionately believe in.

We won’t be able to name them all, because the list of volunteers is long: The Panhandle Butterfly House is all-volunteer, the Elks in Navarre, the VFW and American Legion posts, the Rotary Club, the Lions Club, the Friends of the Navarre Library, the original Beach Beautification Committee, the new Beach Beautification Committee, the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center Board and staff, the dedicated sea turtle patrol, the Navarre Garden Club,  Interfaith Ministries, Holley-Navarre Seniors Association, volunteers for beach clean ups, Habitat for Humanity, Navarre Youth Sports Association, school volunteers, parents who sit on PTOs and School Advisory Councils, fire commissioners, zoning, utilities, construction and marine advisory boards, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Caring and Sharing food collections twice per year, animal rescues, packers  for the Weekend Food Program ensuring no child in school goes hungry on the weekends, Heroes on the Water helping veterans recover, Saints Recovery that helps with Navarre’s homeless, a group in Holley that is trying to help homeless students while also spreading God’s word by building bird houses and giving them away, the Pregnancy Resource Center, Navarre Beach Chamber of Commerce’s board and committee members, mentors, Guardian ad litems who often are the only ones advocating for a troubled child, Leadership Santa Rosa Class 29, Master Gardeners who are trained and certified by the University of Florida and provide expert horticultural assistance, homeowner association boards, those that help with trauma intervention or man crises lines, parents and teachers who coordinated the Color Run at Holley-Navarre Intermediate School to raise $30,000 – almost half of that needed to update and expand its playground, the Navarre High School NJROTC which volunteers for projects throughout our community and the list goes on.

Without volunteers some of these efforts and locations would be less efficient and more expensive to visit or the service would be nonexistent period.  To quote Aristotle, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This synergy describes what is possible when motivated, caring people come together for a common or uncommon purpose in and around Navarre.

With that being said, we find that those most skeptical of volunteers are those who are not part of the volunteer effort themselves. So if that is you, we invite you to take a look at all the volunteer efforts identified above, and these by no means are even a fraction of what actually exist. See if there is something that interests you and start giving back.  You may find your skepticism diminishing and your heart brimming with passion and confidence that you have taken a first step in getting outside of yourself and your comfort zone to contribute to something much larger than yourself.

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Navarre Press

7502 Harvest Village Ct.
Navarre FL 32566


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