Asking for nothing in return

Published 11:21 am Monday, October 24, 2022

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By MEG HERNDON | Staff Writer

Recently the city of Helena held a luncheon to honor those in the city that volunteer their time to help make it a better place.

During the ceremony, Councilmember Hewy Woodman presented the Lifetime Volunteer award. The award is given out every year, and a special coin is given out with the recipient’s image engraved on the back.

Woodman spoke to the volunteers present, speaking highly of the work they do for the city.

“I want to thank you all for giving your time to make this community better,” Woodman said. “People have various amounts of money, there is rich, there is poor, but God gave us all basically the same amount of time on this earth. And y’all made the decision to take some of that time and give back to other people. There’s fewer and fewer people who do that.”

Woodman then awarded Tom Lefebvre as the recipient of this year’s award. Lefebvre was a founding member of Helena Civitan, Buck Creek Festival, Movies in the Park and the Helena Business Association.

Residents like Lefebvre play such a large role in making Shelby County cities as great as they can be. Without dedicated people who volunteer their free time into bettering our community, home would not feel so much like home.

In addition to founding some staple events in Helena, Lefebvre also served on Helena’s Planning and Zoning Board and worked on the acquisition development of the sports complex, Helena Intermediate School and Cahaba Lily Park. He also served 15 years as a volunteer fireman in Helena, 10 years as a softball coach and now is in his 10th year as a Helena school bus driver.

Lefebvre is one of those rare few people that go above and beyond for a city and its people and asks for nothing in return.

While the percentage of Americans donating is up, the percentage who volunteer their time has been on the decline for the past two decades according to a study done by the University of Maryland. And while this could be for an abundance of reasons, we should not let the art of volunteering die.

Volunteering gives others a sense of responsibility and can improve mental, and even sometimes physical, health. It’s also a great way to get to know others in your community and make friends. All-in-all it’s a great way to find purpose and build a network of other individuals who wish to see the best for the community.

Without volunteers, Shelby County cities would look nothing like they do now, Columbiana would not have a team that dedicates its time to making Main Street look picture-perfect, our staple events would not be possible and many cities would not be able to be the best versions of themselves.

Volunteers are the glue that keeps communities together, and we should continue to shine a spotlight on those who dedicate their precious time to helping make the county what it is.