To be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.

Letter to Editor / Blue Stone Press – January 17, 2014

Volunteering for a town board or commission gives one opportunities to meet people, make new friends, exchange ideas, get involved in town’s life, enjoy town events, and – yes! – help others.

As Supervisor Carl Chipman stressed at the recent Town Board’s organizational meeting, Rochester’s Youth Commission has “many, many vacancies,” but there is hope that people would show interest in joining it. This commission is the helping hand of the Youth and Recreation Department led by director Carol Dennin. As our population is getting older, “recreation” actually covers activities for all ages.

Volunteering is rewarding in many ways, but I’d like to focus on what I call “emotional rewarding,” offering as example a story about three generations of the Christian family (Harry, Bob and Grayson).

Some readers may remember the Youth Commission’s idea to have families send photos of their veteran relatives for a Memorial Day display and a “meeting of generations.” Responding to the appeal, the veteran Harry Christian offered to bring his beloved model warships too; on Memorial Day he talked in front of the people gathered at the Veterans Park.

For years, Harry’s son – Bob Christian of Christian’s Greenhouse – donated wonderful wreaths for Memorial and Veterans Day celebrations. Inspired by the “meeting of generations” event, Harry’s grandson Grayson asked the Town Board for permission to make improvements at the Veterans Park (after completing the project he was awarded the “Pride of Rochester” certificate.)

Plans were made to record Harry Christian sharing his war stories; I was lucky to speak to him a few days prior to Veterans Day. Despite not feeling well, he voiced his wish to attend the Veterans Day ceremony. Sadly, he passed away later that month. When the next Town Board meeting was adjourned in his memory, Harry was looking at us from the display created for the Memorial Day.

Words can’t express the emotional reward members of the Youth Commission enjoyed after seeing how their idea for a “meeting of generations” led to having Harry Christian speak on Memorial Day and to the improvement of the Veterans Park by his grandson.

To volunteer is to understand and care, to be fair and non-partisan. In the words of John Adams, “to be good, and to do good, is all we have to do.”

Please consider becoming a member of the Youth Commission. To apply, call the supervisor’s office at 626-3043.

Manuela Michailescu
Town of Rochester Youth Commission Secretary

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