Reflecting on April’s theme of being Volunteer Month

As April ends, I’ve invited Township Committeeman, John Williams, to share his thoughts on April’s theme of being Volunteer Month.

To Our Harrison Family,

As April ends, I’ve invited Township Committeeman, John Williams, to share his thoughts on April’s theme of being Volunteer Month.

Have you ever wondered how you can make a difference in the world? Do you have a desire to be a part of something greater than yourself? If so, there is no better time to address those needs than now….and do so in an organization right in your own hometown. Throughout the great history of our nation, we have seen people from all backgrounds make a tremendous impact through volunteerism. Their service has not only made a difference in the lives of others, but it has also caused our nation and the world to become a better place. In the spirit of building on that legacy, and in recognition of Volunteer Month, I am honored to acknowledge those who have dedicated their services to our nation and our local community.

The volunteerism spirit actually preceded the creation of the United States and became one of the foundational blocks of our American experiment of freedom and democracy. In 1736, one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, started the first volunteer firehouse. This would serve as the foundation of today’s modern day volunteer firehouse system, with 70% of US firehouses being run by volunteers today. In many ways, this spirit of volunteerism would lead to the birth of our nation. Men and women banded together to boycott British imports and raise funds for the famous “Minute Men”, who would eventually lead the fight for our independence as a free nation.

This spirit gained traction through The Civil War and two World Wars and continues today, with various organizations forming, like the Rotary and Lions Clubs, the American Red Cross and the United Way. These organizations, with a multitude of volunteers, still exist and serve our nation and our local communities in their times of need.

Our rich history celebrates volunteerism on a national scale, but we can also celebrate it right here in Harrison Township. Our community has a multitude of residents who volunteer their time on local boards, committees, youth and athletic organizations, and as first responders. These men and women dedicate countless hours in an effort to make a difference in Harrison Township. I know they would all tell you that what they get out of it personally is very rewarding. The feeling of giving back makes a powerful impact on the human spirit. Their efforts shape this community, confirming something that I have always believed: “You can make your town whatever you want it to be”.

In the spirit of Volunteer Month, I encourage everyone seeking to make a difference in the lives of others, as well as their own lives, to volunteer. Our nation and hometown can be whatever we want it to be if we rise to the occasion and answer the call of the volunteerism spirit.

Thank you, John, for this history on volunteerism in our great country. As I reflect on volunteerism in our own community, I am appreciative of our local organizations. From Your Place at the Table, Mullica Hill’s food bank, to the many that support our township’s committees, boards and departments, our community never ceases to amaze.

I couldn’t think of a better reflection of Harrison Strong than our First Responders at our Fire Department, the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity Advisory) board members, the Beautification Committee, and those who keep the fun going at the Recreation Committee. Not to mention the many that volunteer their time to local sports and clubs providing leadership and coaching to our children. On behalf of our Committee members, I offer all who volunteer in support of Harrison Township a heartfelt thank you.

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor