Editor’s note: April is National Volunteer Month.  With this spirit in mind, the Voice of Muscatine asked Rebuilding Together Muscatine County, Inc. Executive Director Frank Iliff about the importance of volunteers in our community and the difference that these individuals and groups make. 

 

A volunteer is a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service as in one who enters military service voluntarily.  In our area, there are several volunteer fire departments, men and women who risk life and limb to protect others from harm.  The people in our community that volunteer their time and talents are a valuable asset to us all.  The gift of your time to someone that is in need is one of the most rewarding things a person can do.  When a community has a strong commitment to volunteering, everyone benefits: the one receiving the gift of someone else’s time and talents but maybe even more so is the person giving of their time and talents.

I have said many times that I believe we are all on this earth and in this community to help others, to get out of our “comfort zones,” step out, look around, find a need and help out. I believe we are all here to help others.  No matter how bad your life might be, if you look around you will find someone in worse shape than you.  There are places in our town that could use YOUR help: read to kids at the library, call the United Way and sign up for Day of Caring, heck, pick up trash down by the river.  Whatever it is you like to do, there is a place where you can put your time and talents to use.  Find an elderly neighbor and just sit and talk with them.  Elderly people are fascinating to just sit and listen to as they have experienced things you can only dream about.

Volunteering means doing something because “it just needs done.”  Muscatine is such a great place to live, work, and raise a family.  Find something; find some way to help someone you might not even know yet.  I guarantee you will get more out of the time spent than you ever thought you would.  And if you decide volunteering just isn’t what you want to do, you can always go back to what you were doing before you tried it.

 

The Rebuilding Together National Rebuilding Day will be held on Saturday, April 30.  To volunteer locally, contact Frank at [email protected]. To learn more about Rebuilding Together Muscatine County, Inc., visit RebuildingTogetherMuscatine.org.