“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
I’ve always been an advocate for volunteering, whether for the Boy Scouts of America with my sons or with the Communities in Schools of North Texas or even with Rotary International through local Rotary Clubs.
Spending time in service to others is an important part of life, a lesson imparted to my children, friends and even graduating seniors.
But what really brought the importance of volunteers to the forefront was the thousands of individuals and the tens of thousands of hours they spent helping our Medical Reserve Corps during the pandemic.
We would not have been able to accomplish a seemingly insurmountable task of vaccinating the population without our volunteers. They came from all walks of life – from paramedics and firefighters to Rotary Club members to neighbors. They arrived from across the state and out of state – each dedicating long hours on their feet from sunup to sundown, excited to be of help in a time of need.
Daily, I took time to walk across the expansive Texas Motor Speedway parking lot to meet and thank these individuals personally, listen to their stories and share their smiles as we worked toward a common goal.
I’ll never forget seeing my dear friend, former Trophy Club Mayor Nick Sanders, who volunteered his time during the vaccination clinic in honor of his son. Wade passed at the young age of 48 from COVID-19.
Nick was only one of the many who left a lasting impression on everyone they met. These individuals created lifelong connections as they worked day-in-and-day-out, side-by-side through one of the most challenging times in our history. And when they all gathered for our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner at the end, you could tangibly feel the camaraderie and collective spirit of giving that night – a night I will never forget.
Even today, a year later, I still hear of how a volunteer made a difference in how someone felt about the vaccination process.
National Volunteer Month recognizes the value and impact of volunteers. It has been said that volunteers are the heart and soul of a community. There is definitely truth in that statement as volunteers can bring hope to others as they help make their communities better.
It is this spirit of volunteerism that continues to make Denton County so special. When neighbors help neighbors, communities gain strength and a common purpose.
Being a volunteer is a way to give to others, but the reverse is also a benefit. Research shows that volunteers receive a multitude of benefits such as reducing stress, anger, and anxiety. Reducing these factors help one to live in a better mental and physical state of being. It has been said that volunteers are happier and fulfilled people.
Volunteering provides a path to connect with others. Many times new found friendships and strong bonds and relationships can be forged through a common bond of volunteering. Serving together for a common goal can often times bring people together who might not otherwise ever cross paths.
Some volunteers discover a new career path or passion through their experience of serving. Being exposed to a new organization or non-profits may ignite something that wasn’t clearly known prior to the experience of volunteering.
Our non-profits across Denton County have been served well with volunteers and, I hope, will continue to be in the future. There will always be a need for more volunteers with our many non-profits.
I am extremely grateful for the work our non-profits have done and continue to do to help our residents in need. Our food pantries have kept many families fed and still do so as demand continues to increase to 325 percent above what is was in 2019. A number of our non-profits work alongside the county and the United Way of Denton County to provide emergency rental assistance available through U.S. Department of the Treasury funds. Others are focused on mental health needs while several work to address an escalating issue with child abuse.
Each of these entities needs the help of volunteers – people who serve as the backbone of our social services to keep Denton County the kind of place we are all proud to call home.
We all have varying interests and are drawn to different organizations and causes. Whatever your passion, my hope is that our Denton County residents will find a way to harness it for the good of others. We all need the hope that is bound in service to one another in our community.
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It is an honor to serve as your Denton County Judge. If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is [email protected], and my office number is 940-349-2820. For more information, register for my newsletter at Dentoncounty.gov/countyjudgenewslettersignup