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SUBMITTED by Vicky Daly, Village of Palmyra (22-May-2012)

Conversation with the Mayor

It pleases me that Palmyra has called itself "Queen of Canal Towns," and justifiably so, since the mid-19th Century. After last week, however, I believe that there is another descriptor which would be appropriate. More an addition than a change, this new tag would add even more luster to the Queen’s crown. Visualize if you will "It’s Not All About Me." in elegant script at the base of the crown. Three consecutive days last week brought this to mind.

Last Thursday my husband and I attended the annual Thank You Dinner hosted by the Newark Elks Club for the folks who drive for Home Meal Service, Meals on Wheels (Meals on Wheels is just one of the organizations which the Elks entertain in this way). I cannot tell you how many people attended but I do know that there were so many that the original serving plan for the evening was scrapped. A delicious served dinner replaced the intended buffet. There was no place to set it up. That, of course, made more work for the members of the Elks who were volunteering their time that evening. What we saw was a group of volunteers honoring another group of volunteers.

Friday morning, Palmyra-Macedon Central School District co-sponsored with Special Olympics New York the Spring 2012 Genesee Region Track & Field Event. 700 youngsters participated in a day of games in which, in multiple ways, everybody won. It went beautifully and a template was created for the future as the event will be held in Palmyra for the next several years. This didn’t just happen. 200 volunteers--students, teachers, the Board of Education, Palmyra and Macedon police, the Sheriff, local officials, the Palmyra Legion, Section V officials, the band, the Select Choir--gave their time and energy to make it a day the students from 20+ schools would remember with pride and pleasure.

The next day, Saturday, untold numbers of people and organizations volunteered time and treasure to support ‘A Ride With Matt’ to raise funding to finance awareness of and research on Huntington’s Disease. It is dangerous to start naming names as someone might be left out, but I do know that local businesses and performers played a major role in making it happen or as Aaron Austin said “The community wrapped its arms around this project.” As the ride develops and progresses, we will keep you informed of Matt and Aaron’s progress.

The juxtaposition of those three events caught my attention and brought about this column. Volunteering as a way of life is an ongoing factor in Palmyra and the region. People volunteer at Historic Palmyra, the library, the schools, the hospitals, the churches, on the trails, at the Fair, in the neighborhoods or on their streets. That’s who we are. I know Palmyra is special, but, in this respect, we are not unique. My guess is that residents of other communities, reading this column, would let us know that the same is true where they live. It happens so much that we take it for granted. Volunteering is an American way of life. Consider the aid, financial and in the form of all kinds of materials and items that go to disaster victims all over the country and the world. We demonstrate every day that we know “It’s not all about me.”

Postscript

Coincidentally, on Saturday, June 16, at 10:00 AM, at the Village Bookmarket, 207 East Main Street, Palmyra, the community had the opportunity to meet the Szarek family who took volunteering very seriously, downsizing from home to duffle bag living to work with Mercy Ships, www.mercyships.org . Their topic was “Serving with Mercy Ships”.

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