2011-05-26 / Editorial

Volunteers make our island a wonderful place to live


It was a heart-warming scene last Saturday at the Jamestown Community Farm. More than 20 professional craftsmen – people who build things for a living – showed up at the farm and donated their time to construct a farm building to store equipment.

I was reminded of our nation’s rural history, of the days when neighbors helped neighbors. People would travel for miles to volunteer their assistance at a barnraising. It strengthened the fabric of our nation.

Jamestown’s own barn-raising last weekend is a good example of why our island community is such a great place to call home. Much of this island runs on volunteerism. Start with the Jamestown Volunteer Fire Department. Then look at all of the various community and civic organizations, from the Lions and Rotary Clubs to the Jamestown Women’s Club and Jamestown Chamber of Commerce.

Keep looking further and you’ll find our entertainment is provided by the dedicated volunteers who fill the ranks at the Jamestown Community Band, the Jamestown Community Chorus and Jamestown Community Theatre.

The aforementioned Jamestown Community Farm runs entirely with volunteer labor. The planting, weeding and harvesting is all done by hand by our neighbors. Both of the island garden clubs who help beautify the island are made up of volunteers.

There are the youth sports leagues, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, the Conanicut Island Art Association and the Jamestown Arts Center.

Then take a look at our town government. Of course, the day-to-day functioning of our town relies on the dedicated town employees. But it is the volunteers who comprise the boards and committees and commissions. Even the elected offices are for the most part volunteer positions, even though the office holders may receive a small stipend.

When one starts making a list, someone is sure to get left out. There are other island groups not mentioned here, so this is a blanket endorsement and a thank you to all of the volunteers who help make Jamestown the community we know and love.

Speaking of volunteers, we’ll all be watching the annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday morning. That, too, is staged by volunteers – our island’s veterans. The parade participants are volunteers.

If you are not yet a volunteer, be someone special in Jamestown. Become a volunteer.

— Jeff McDonough

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