Volunteer to Make a Difference - Carolina Country

Volunteer to Make a Difference

Electric co-op employees across the state are proud of the ways  we serve our communities

By Tom Batchelor

Tom Batchelor

Ever notice how society today is so consumed by social media through those electronic devices we all feel we can’t live without? Maybe it is time to pause for a moment, put the electronics down and appreciate the simple things. Think about all the things that nurture and strengthen our local communities. They begin with family, follow through to faith and forge the bonds that foster civility and create wholesome and healthy societies.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, just like other co-ops the world over, operate according to a set of seven core principles that include “Concern for Community” — we work for the sustainable development of our communities through policies supported by our members. Even when so many of us are preoccupied with vacations, hobbies and all the summer activities that break up our regular routine, we can all strive to make this kind of commitment to community part of just about everything we do. And it can often make a lasting difference in our lives as well as those we help and support.

Coaches and referees keep summer youth sports leagues running, smiling senior volunteers quietly patrol our favorite parks, and teenage counselors help create summer memories for younger kids with games, crafts and field trips.

Some of us take a week or so of our vacations to chaperone a youth outing, help out at scout camp or support a church group outreach mission. Others answer the call when help is needed for storm response or community cleanups.

Many of us know at least one person who is so committed to a particular cause that they find ways to make a continual impact throughout the stages of their lives.

Electric co-ops and their employees across the state are proud of the ways—big and small—we serve our communities.

Think about that volunteer firefighter who for decades after their active roster years of fighting fires, still turns out to help “fill the boot,” dispatch calls or drive the canteen truck, ready to help parched first responders and victims recover at the scene.

What about the moms and dads who take their teenagers along for a day of service making sandwiches or folding clothes for the local shelter?

Then of course, there are those who will take half an hour or so to donate a pint of blood, which is especially important in the summer months when corporate drive participation slacks off.

All of these things are fine ideas that lead to great actions and produce lasting results. What makes them really special is that they cost little more than our personal decision to look around, see what’s needed and jump in and get involved.

Electric co-ops and their employees across the state are proud of the ways — big and small — we serve our communities. At Haywood EMC, our employees give back through nearly 20 different local organizations, including: The Community Outreach Workshop, which empowers kids to build projects and learn technical skills; The Haywood County Human Resource Association, which tackles community issues like opioid addiction; and Mountain Wise, which works to reduce chronic disease and obesity in Western NC. Among our employees you’ll find a church deacon, a high school referee, a church security volunteer, a Boy Scout leader, volunteer fire fighters and a fire chief, and several members of local boards.

Haywood EMC also works with the Haywood County United Way for its annual Day of Caring, where co-op employees pitch in to help members in need. Past projects have included repairing members’ leaky roofs, installing wheelchair-accessible ramps, replacing windows and painting.

With technology cutting back on our personal connections to people, maybe we need to look for ways to touch the lives of those close by, and volunteering is a great way to start. If you think about it, we all can choose to give a bit of ourselves to help make things better. Volunteer to serve, and see for yourself.

Want to get involved?

You don’t have to look far. There are organizations in need of willing volunteers all across North Carolina. A list of some, by county, can be found at nc.gov.

About the Author

Tom Batchelor is Executive Vice President and CEO for Haywood EMC in Waynesville.

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