For the past several years, Union County has been blessed with the services of the Salkehatchie which brings volunteers into a community to make repairs to the homes of the poor and/or the elderly. Not only do volunteers donate their time, energy and skills to the effort, they also donate their money with each paying $200 to participate. Those funds are used to help purchase the materials volunteers use in making the repairs.
This is impressive when you realize while many are willing to donate some money toward a worthwhile cause, far fewer are willing to give of themselves as well; especially if it involves working in the brutal summer heat. Yet that’s exactly what the Salkehatchie volunteers do; giving of themselves and their time as well as their money to help people they’ve probably never met and will probably never see again, but whose lives will be improved by their efforts.
Union County is blessed with many wonderful organizations which would not exist were it not for the volunteers who staff them and we salute them all and their great efforts they make to help the needy and make our community a better place. They include our churches, 11 of which fed the Salkehatchie volunteers and provided them with water. The volunteer efforts of the members of these churches helped make the Salkehatchie camp possible. We could not do without such volunteers and they deserve our support as much as the Salkehatchie Summer Service does.
Still, the presence of the Salkehatchie Summer Service reminds us of what can happen when a group of individuals puts service to others ahead of self. They not only come together but also bring together other private organizations — the 11 Methodist churches — and even public organizations — Union County High School which housed the volunteers — in a good cause. It can also unite the generations — the members of the Union County camp ranged in age from 14-71 — to put aside the differences that all too often divide young and old and come together to serve others.
The residents of those five houses whose roofs, walls, windows, steps, floors and bathrooms were repaired, their homes painted and the grounds landscaped, certainly benefited from the efforts of the Salkehatchie volunteers and those who supported them. We as a community also benefited, not only from the material improvements made, but also from the example set which should inspire us all to do more to help those in need and to make our community a better place to live.
Of course, we benefit every day from the many volunteer groups in our county but, as is all too often the case, we sometimes take their efforts for granted because they are here and at work every day.
The Salkehatchie Summer Service program reminds us just how precious volunteers are and how much their efforts mean to the community. They are role models who not only serve as an inspiration but a reminder of the people among us every day whose service to the community is just as inspiring.