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Saying #039;thanks#039; to our volunteers

There are different kinds of heroes. We have become all too aware of the traditional heroes in recent years, from the firemen who walked into the burning World Trade Center building,

to the troops who sweated and bled and died in the sands of Iraq. But there are other heroes, quieter heroes, the ones who are rarely recognized with photo spreads or parades.

They affect our lives in many ways, ones we scarcely are aware of.

They are the volunteers.

Look around you - did you know the young mother who lives next door spends her valuable time mentoring at-risk children in school? Did you know the elderly gentleman who spends his afternoons in the library, spends his mornings running errands for an even more elderly gentleman who is housebound? Did you know that the ambitious, busy lawyer reads books onto tapes so the blind can hear great stories?

Some of these heroes work with others in organized groups that delegate and designate, like the American Red Cross or Volunteers of America. Some work on their own, simply picking up trash on the side of the road, or reading to a child. They all work for our community and they all work with no thought for pay or recognition.

In spite of their humble avoidance of the spotlight, we would like to recognize them. This time of year, every year, volunteers across America are honored. This week, we would like to acknowledge the volunteers of our community, those who serve quietly out of a simple need to help their fellow citizen live a better life.

We can offer no ticker tape parades, or bronze statues in the park, but we can offer this - you are our heroes.

You are the binding element of our nation, the foundation of our belief. You are the living embodiment of a nation that cares for others, without thought of recompense, without thought of glory.

Thank you.