Sunday, July 16, 2006

Small Town Volunteerism

I live in a dense urban setting. But once or twice a year, we decamp to a small town amid the corn fields of Illinois, where my wife is from.

It’s a place where you run into people like the guy who is a member of his town’s volunteer fire department. With a population of 2,500, his town is even smaller than the one we visit.

A volunteer ambulance driver, he was up at 2:30am the night before, responding to a random emergency. He was joined by two other paramedics. They all live close to the fire station, so they can get there within three minutes of their pagers’ ringing.

This type of volunteerism combines generosity with self-reliance in a way that’s natural to small communities. And while I’m not suggesting that everyone in these small towns is ready to charge out into the night for someone in need, I admire those who do.

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