In a town that is often referred to as the "City of Volunteers," there is a particular handful of Philomath residents that I've gotten to know over the past two or three years that show up over and over again for certain tasks.
Dale Collins is one of those people. As I drove up to the garages in the public works yard this morning, there was Dale leaning against a flatbed trailer waiting for access and for other volunteers to arrive. It was time to put up the Christmas decorations on Main Street, a job that Dale, who is 72, enjoys to the extent that he even wears a big-eared elf hat.
We had a few minutes to talk and the subject of volunteering came up. In general, he's seen fewer volunteers for such things than from two or even one generation ago. Even service clubs see fewer volunteers with the norm being about half of the organization's membership actively contributing on various projects.
Still, Philomath does have a great group of volunteers and organizations that do a whole lot of good in town. Many of these contributions go unseen under the radar. Thankfully, the chamber of commerce hosts the annual Samaritan Awards to recognize these individuals.
I especially enjoy hearing stories at the Samaritan Awards about the Junior First Citizen or recently implemented Future First Citizen, the younger folks that get involved. The senior projects that Philomath High students work on also come to mind. It's this younger generation that communities will depend on in the future.
On this morning, five volunteers helped put up the decorations with Dale, Neil and Carole Richardson, Tami Kibble and Pioneer's Robert Turner. Thanks to them, we have a brighter Main Street for this Christmas season.