I’ve always been an advocate for volunteering. 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 that helped 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.
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.
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 helps one to live in a better mental and physical state of being. It has been said that volunteers are happier and more fulfilled people.
Volunteering provides a path to connect with others. Many times newfound friendships, strong bonds, and relationships can be forged through a common bond of volunteering. Serving together for a common goal can oftentimes bring people together who might not otherwise ever cross paths.
Our nonprofits across Denton County have been served well by volunteers and, I hope, will continue to be in the future.
I am extremely grateful for the work our nonprofits 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 it was in 2019. A number of our nonprofits work alongside the county and the United Way of Denton County to provide emergency rental assistance available through the U.S. Department of the Treasury funds.
Each of these entities needs the help of volunteers.
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.