Opinion

A time to reflect on all that we have

This is always one of my favorite times of the year and a good time to reflect on all we have to be thankful for right here in Marysville.

In our fast-paced and hectic lives, it is easy to forget sometimes what a great community we live in. Marysville is a community that goes above and beyond in community service. Our fellow citizens give selflessly of themselves to make others’ lives better, helping each other and looking out for their neighbors.

When I think of things to be thankful for in our community, the list runs long, but here are five that immediately come to mind especially at this time of year.

1. The Marysville Community Food Bank and Toy Store, its corps of hard-working volunteers and the great many who donate food and money throughout the year to assist needy families locally. Even during one of our region and nation’s most challenging economic times, every time the food bank has asked for help, the community has generously responded.

2. Service clubs including the Sunrise and Noon Rotary, Kiwanis, Soroptimist and the Lions. These groups continually give of their time and resources to contribute toward a better future for our kids and others in our community. There are many evenings and weekends throughout the year that you will find these service club members donating time from their busy schedules at fundraisers and other public events that ultimately have a direct impact on making Marysville a stronger, better and more vibrant community.

3. The growing number of positive activities and places for our youth. The Marysville YMCA’s Youth Development Center opened in August; it’s a place for energetic youth groups like the Minority Achievers Program (MAP) to call home. The Center offers resources to help teens pursue higher educational and career goals, while providing a place to hang out with friends, play games and do homework. The Marysville Boys and Girls Club provides an after-school place for young people downtown to do many of the same things, and to reach their fullest potential. Youth groups including Boys and Girl Scouts, and Camp Fire USA are instilling character, citizenship, teamwork and self-esteem in our younger generations.  And of course, Marysville and other neighboring school districts offer many great clubs, athletics and extracurricular activities. It is great to see our youth involved in so many positive activities that lead to a better community and put them on the path towards a brighter future.

4. Those individual citizens, families, groups and others who volunteer their time, energy and resources to the many volunteer projects and church service projects such as Serve Day, and also those who serve on the many volunteer boards and commissions within Marysville, lending their own knowledge and expertise.

I cannot emphasize enough what a community asset your time represents. Consider this: Total volunteer hours contributed by residents through Serve Day, Graffiti Paint Outs and other park maintenance and program volunteer events totaled 1,722 hours in 2011, an increase of 500 hours over 2010 levels. These hours are equivalent to $34,440 in added value to the city.

When you begin adding in volunteer hours donated through city-sanctioned activities like the Police Department’s Marysville Volunteers Program (MVP) for crime prevention, Adopt-A-Street garbage pickup, youth athletics, city boards and committees, that value-added total soars to $280,000. That number still doesn’t factor in the time that community members donate through participation in civic organizations, churches, schools and other groups that share a sense of community.

5. Last, but certainly not least, let us be thankful for the many service members and their families who live here and have spent another year here and away from home sacrificing of themselves to ensure that we all continue to enjoy the freedoms that we far too often take for granted. We owe so much to America’s finest, and, as the USS Abraham Lincoln departs from Everett for its final deployment before a 3-1/2 year refueling in Virginia, we say thank you to the many fine sailors and their families who have been such a welcome addition to our community over these many years. We welcome those sailors who serve aboard the USS Nimitz and their families who will be stationed at Naval Station Everett. We look forward to seeing many of them become part of our military family-friendly community in the coming months.

We rightly spend much of our time throughout each year working to find solutions to and planning to meet the many challenges that face our City. While we do face significant challenges just as other communities all around us do, it is also important to pause for a moment during this holiday season to reflect on the many things that we have to be thankful for as individuals and as a city.

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Mayor Jon Nehring can be reached at mayor@marysvillewa.gov or 360-363-8091

 

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