Mon, Feb. 17

Editorial: Retirees carry heavy load when it comes to community volunteerism

A lot of it could be the time of the season.

After all, would you choose any of the myriad Christmas season activities over attendance at a Cottonwood Planning and Zoning Commission meeting?

Dumb question, we know.

Monday, the business at hand for Cottonwood’s planning board almost had to be shelved because of the lack of a quorum.

Only three of the seven members of the planning board showed up for the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting. It was only after a phone call to a fourth member that the commission met the legal quorum requirement to be able to conduct business.

One day later, the city announced that there are two openings on the planning commission.

The Cottonwood Planning Commission is a classic example of the plight of local government today to find the kind of volunteers needed to keep the wheels of government rolling. The same is true of the many local non-profits that fill such vital community needs.

Since the recession began in 2007, volunteerism at all levels experienced a major decline. People were too busy picking up second jobs or working overtime in their present job in order to pay the bills. People were beat down, and volunteering for anything became the last thing on folks’ minds.

True to form, it was often elderly, retired folks who stepped up to the plate to carry the volunteer load. That’s especially true with Cottonwood Planning & Zoning Commission, which is about at geriatric a board as you will find in the Verde Valley. The current lineup of the commission has done a fine job representing the city, and their collective decisions have certainly represented the best interests of Cottonwood.

But a lot of them have had their turn and deserve a reprieve. They stepped up, did their duty, and did a fine job.

It bears emphasis that we are not just singling out the Cottonwood Planning and Zoning Commission here. The Cottonwood City Council has two members who have been hard at it on the city’s behalf for three decades; Camp Verde likewise has two council members who have contributed more in their retirement years than many in the community collectively have contributed to Camp Verde’s good will.

It’s someone else’s turn, and perhaps it’s time we see a little equal play from some of our community’s younger people to emulate the example of community servanthood we so often see from local retirees.

The old saying about respecting your elders can best be applied here in the Verde Valley by stepping up and being a volunteer on the planning and zoning commission, at the city library, the Verde Valley Senior Center or the Humane Society.

Those who are retired throughout the Verde Valley have shown time and again that they will gladly answer the call as community servants.

It’s time some of the Verde Valley’s other demographic profiles stepped up as they so selflessly have.

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