In praise of volunteers

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, August 30, 2017

As I watched the victims of the hurricane in Texas being rescued from their homes, I reflected on the willingness of so many freely taking their boats to those in most need of assistance. 

Boat after boat went on many trips to rescue folks they never met to save lives.

There is no doubt that God’s Pit Crew was on the road with volunteers and supplies for those that have been impacted. For those not familiar with God’s Pit Crew, they are a Danville-based organization that has spread its wings to assist not only folks regionally but, additionally, they have helped those in need in many states. Likewise, churches had members go to Louisiana and Mississippi for several years after Katrina landed in that area.

If one considers all the problems of our fellow man, there is a great deal of need. Sometimes, the needs are driven by natural disasters, such as hurricanes or tornadoes. Other times, they may be because of fires that may be either natural or man made. When major fires break out, it is not unusual to hear of Virginians going to help with the fight. 

The needs may be because of health or family issues. Over and over, volunteers are there to assist those in need. Just a few weeks ago, medical providers around the state went to Southwest Virginia to assist in the annual project to help those that lack access to health care. Other doctors and medical providers regularly help with free clinics across the state.

We have many who act as in the “lunchtime buddies” to have lunch with school children who need the attention of a caring adult to bring some degree of stability to their lives. Likewise, many join in the “backpack buddies” program financially or with labor to make sure that food is available for kids over the weekend during the school year.

Many of our communities have food pantries that provide grocery products to families to tide them over when other sources are not available. In Clarksville and other communities, we have community gardens that make fresh vegetables available to those who wish them.

Service and fraternal groups often band together to jointly assist the needs of our citizens. They provide funds for scholarships, check children’s eyesight and assist in just about every community project that needs funding or labor. Our churches, likewise, are involved in many of these same projects that serve our communities.

Other times, the assistance is help on a more personal level.  Helping those who are in need of assistance after deaths in a family, illnesses or accidents.  Friends and neighbors provide meals and do household chores. 

I could go on and on because there are so many willing to help others.

This sort of assistance is what makes us a community, whether the community is those around us or around the world. It is that which should make us all proud to be an American. No society in history has given as much as America has.  When or wherever a disaster occurs around the globe, Americans are the first to step forward.


Frank Ruff represents Charlotte County in the state Senate. His email address is