Small town spirit only comes through volunteers

In Our Opinion


Ask any event organizer and they’ll tell you that volunteers make things happen; without them, it’s a lost cause.

Founder’s Day in Medical Lake is one of those events that relies on volunteers to make it a success each year. As mentioned in last week’s edition, the event is searching for a leader this year. There have been times in the past where community support waned to the point where Founder’s Day disappeared altogether. It all rests on the support found through volunteers and people who cherish their town’s history.

Unfortunately, with the exception of a good handful of leaders who have invested their energy for decades, few can be found. If that course doesn’t change soon, Founder’s Day won’t see the positive growth it experienced over the last couple of years.

The problem is more of a cultural dilemma, and isn’t something found solely in Medical Lake. When you look at the larger picture, seeking volunteers is a near-impossible feat across the country.

Those working a regular day shift come home at night for a few precious hours to spend with his or her family. For many the house needs some work, kids have events and other parts of life keep us occupied in our time outside of the office. We’re grateful for a precious few hours where we can put up our feet and flip through a few TV channels worry-free.

As a result, local charities and organizations have found it difficult to find help. It’s become apparent that the tide needs to change, and action can be found in the graduation requirements for public schools. The lesson of doing good in a community isn’t something that can be taught; it must be done first-hand.

In the meantime, the events that help make small town life enjoyable, events like Founder’s Day, suffer. Medical Lake’s demographics make it a perfect location for businesses and events like this. The Blue Waters Bluegrass festival is an example of the great type of atmosphere Medical Lake can provide to a large event.

The Armed Forces Torchlight Parade in Spokane draws beautiful floats from cities across the Inland Northwest. Small cities like Palouse, Wilbur, Davenport, Odessa and Reardan put countless hours of effort into their entry, and each float reflects a certain pride in their city. At the heart of those operations? A legion of volunteers. But, West Plains cities like Cheney, Medical Lake and Airway Heights are nowhere to be found.

Medical Lake enjoys fantastic support when it comes to the school district, and is the source of envy for anyone who looks at the numbers. Dollars for Scholars raises an unbelievable amount of money, especially when factoring in the size of the city. Such programs make other communities pale in comparison. The level of support offered to the school district is a testament to the dedication of Medical Lake parents and community members.

Sadly, it seems that same drive and enthusiasm just isn’t there for Founder’s Day, arguably the most important event for Medical Lake each year. Few other events draw the numbers of out-of-town visitors like Founder’s Day. Many consider the three-on-three basketball tournament to be a precursor to Hoopfest. The softball tournament, triathlon and parade are also large attractions, bringing in even more guests to Medical Lake.

Founder’s Day can be a source of community pride for Medical Lake, but only if the city’s residents want it to be. There are countless names of great people who reside in the city, and it’s time for a new crop of community members to step up to the plate.


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