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Volunteers make city a better place

During two recent meetings that I attended, the subject of making sure that volunteers were acknowledged and thanked came up. I would like to share a few stories of the volunteers that I came across during the days following my meetings.

n At a school fundraiser brunch, I sat down next to Jenny Kling and learned that she spent several days volunteering by shelving library books at the new Trillium library. As I continued to talk to others at the brunch, I saw people that volunteered in the classrooms on a weekly basis throughout the year.

n I had lunch at the West Linn Adult Community Center and spoke with Allan Kawada. He has been volunteering twice a week for the past few years by driving people to medical appointments. The people that he drives are unable to do so. At that same lunch, I ate food that was prepared with help of Marie Horvath and Mike Lindner who have been volunteering there for years.

n I attended the beautiful Sept. 11 memorial event at Willamette Park. We can never give enough thanks and gratitude to the men and women that dedicate their lives every day to keeping us safe. The dignified ceremony was coordinated by volunteers Dean Suhr and Alice Richmond, an extraordinary citizen who hosts many wonderful community-building events such as the Fourth of July celebration in Willamette Park.

n I took my daughter to her Brownies meeting and then to her soccer practice. Her Brownies troop is run by a cohort of parent volunteers who plan many activities that encourage the girls to give back to their community. Last year the girls raised money for the West Linn Food Pantry, sang and made crafts at a retirement home and helped a pet shelter.

The spirit of volunteering is being passed down to this younger generation. At her soccer practice, I saw her coach, Ryan McDonald, and am reminded of how he is also a volunteer. On soccer game days, he takes a vacation day from his work as a firefighter so he can coach the girls.

n Neighbors Helping Neighbors —what an amazing citywide event! Groups of volunteers from Boy Scout troops to the Rotary Club help citizens in need.

There are countless volunteer stories, but I am unable to include them all. It was refreshing to be reminded that our lives are touched in so many positive ways by volunteers.

Frequently, we are unaware of the work put forth by these people, and they are never properly thanked or acknowledged. It is these volunteers’ humble work and passion that make our community and world a better place to live.

Jenni Tan is the president of the West Linn City Council and is running for reelection.