Passing of father causes reflection on volunteerism

Westport Lions Roar

By Lion Bob Reddick

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The passing of my 94-year-old father this past week has caused me to reflect on volunteerism. What does it mean to be a volunteer? The dictionary defines a volunteer, “as a person who freely offers to take part in a enterprise or undertakes a task.”

The benefits of volunteering can be enormous to you and your community. There is no doubt that volunteers are vital to the quality of life of individuals and the community as a whole. Volunteering can help you to develop friendships, learn new skills, gain confidence and improve your mental and physical health.

In a study published by the Harvard Health Publications entitled, Simple Changes, Big Rewards: A Practical, Easy Guide for Healthy, Happy Living. In this study the researchers from the London School of Economics, “examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults, they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were, according to a study in Social Science and Medicine. Compared with people who never volunteered, the odds of being “very happy” rose 7% among those who volunteer monthly and 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks. Among weekly volunteers, 16% felt very happy—a hike in happiness comparable to having an income of $75,000–$100,000 versus $20,000, say the researchers.”

The above study suggests that the more you volunteer, the happier you are. However, volunteering does not have to involve a long-term commitment or take huge amounts of time. As Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Even giving in small and simple ways to help others can improve your health and happiness.

My father had a long, happy and full life mainly because he had a lot of faithful friends and was very involved in the community of Spencerville. He was a member and treasurer of the The Edwardsburgh/Cardinal Fire Department since the department’s formation in 1951. My Dad served the fire department for 63 years until he retired from the department at age 91. My Dad was a Freemason with Nation Lodge for 70 years, of which he was secretary for 40 years. He was a village trustee for 37 years, a member of the Spencerville Fair Board for 23 years, and treasurer at St Andrew’s Knox Presbyterian in Spencerville for 56 years. He was treasurer for the Grenville Hunt Club since 1957. My Dad was named Edwardsburgh/Cardinal Citizen of the Year in 2007.

As you can see, my Dad was very active, and his involvement in the community gave him a sense of purpose in life that contributed to a long and satisfying life.

I believe my Dad would tell anyone if they want to have a good life then they should:

  • Make sure you have a purpose and something to do everyday;
  • Be active in their community, the rewards of volunteerism far exceeds the investment of time;
  • Surround yourself with good friends;
  • Keep moving;
  • Enjoy a beer with friends on a regular basis.

The motto of the Lions Club is We Serve. We are lucky that Westport, and many other communities, have dedicated and service minded people like my father, Helmer Reddick.

 


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