Be thankful for those who gave their lives for our country

Jim Lee

A couple of weeks ago when I mentioned the names of some of my friends, I neglected to name Dr. and Mrs. Manuel Varela. Manny and Ann are fine people and highly respected professionals in the community. It is a privilege to call them friends, and I thoroughly enjoy bragging about knowing them.
This seems an especially appropriate day to mention people like Ann and Manny Varela, people who have given to the community and to our society. Sixty-two years ago today, over 2,000 Americans gave the ultimate gift to our country: their lives. On Dec. 7, 1941, in one of the worst terrorist acts in history, Pearl Harbor was attacked.
A memorial was built there, and many Americans pause a moment to reflect on the events of that day in Hawaii, but maybe we should consider another tribute.
This memorial will honor those who sacrificed so much at Pearl Harbor and those who have acted unselfishly at all the other events in our history right up to this moment. This tribute will not be made of concrete or marble or have any bronze plaques.
It is a tribute of deeds.
Volunteerism is a tribute of deeds. Yes, contributing money to a cause is good, but so is contributing one’s time. As a wise person once said, “You can contribute money by signing a check, but giving time is giving a piece of your life.”
Of course it is important to donate money to worthy causes if a person can afford it, but so is giving time — and just about anybody can afford to do that.
Get involved.
The United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and a number of other organizations and individuals can tell us who needs what. The schools need caring volunteers. The Youth Recreation Center in the old Gibson Building needs help. Habitat for Humanity of Roosevelt and Curry Counties needs helping hands and administrative help.
The Main Street program, which has been doing a wonderful job renovating our downtown area, could use some help. Many local churches have programs that benefit Portales. Portales Kiwanis Club always welcomes anyone interested in doing something for the kids in our community.
Contact me with questions on volunteering, and I’ll be glad to help match volunteers with projects.
There are so many ways we can do our part in helping to make Portales an even better place to live. We need to care about our community and be willing to roll up our sleeves and demonstrate that we care.
Volunteerism not only helps others, it does wonders for the volunteers. It is difficult to think of a better way to feel part of our beautiful community, to actually make a positive difference in the quality of life.
Inevitably, somebody will say, “What’s in it for me?”
I respond by mentioning an entire world of satisfaction, a feeling of belonging, and knowing one’s life really means something special. I can’t think of a reward bigger than that.
Remember those who gave their all, at Pearl Harbor and many other heroic events, and be a part of the tribute of deeds. Get in on the joy and satisfaction of volunteering.

Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail:
dr_james_lee@hotmail.com