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Is the Volunteer Spirit Dying?


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I was dismayed at the following comment from a person running for office: “If you don't pay higher money to elected officials you will have nothing but Zeros. "

If you want to be rich you should not run for town council or village president in the small rural communities. What is proven historically that you can run for office and win and not have a clue of what this honored position is all about.

If you care about your community you should be willing to serve for free.

I have worked and donated money with nothing to gain to my community to which I live in. A community is like a home if everyone does a small part it runs nicely. This attitude of I deserve more is not conducive to public service.

In our area I found out why the people quit donating to certain events. One person told me, “Every year I donated my services and spent countless hours and the group never said thank you. After a few years it was expected of me. "

The other phenomena that I experienced was a person deciding how much you should be able to do without any consideration of what you said. This is the person who takes over everything, complains about everything and calls you on the telephone like your life is suppose to be this one project. This person needs to realize the reason they end up doing things by themselves is they have pushed everyone away. If you find yourself saying I can not do this alone and I end up doing everything myself because no one does it good enough you may need to stop and look at your behavior.

I have been fortunate to have been a part of a successful group of volunteers. On many occasions to organize and pull off a major event there were only 5 people. If everyone takes a part and makes it happen things can come together nicely.

Make a list of people and what they want to do. If a person says I can only make 10 phone calls well then let them do that and do not ask them to do 100. Honor they took their free time to help and say thank you. One thing is for sure if you do not abuse the volunteer and respect their donation they will be helping for years to come.

Get out of the mentality that everyone needs to be at a meeting. Some people hate meetings and will do specific chores. Don't treat volunteer work like a job because you will lose many talented people.

Unfortunately, because of high egos I have seen long term events for the community to go up in smoke. Volunteer work should bring fulfillment and laughter into a persons life. The reward is the joy you feel and the new people you meet.

Recently, I talked to an amazing young woman who took over the Easter Egg Hunt in our small town and she said I wanted my children to have the experiences I had here when I was growing up. Isn't that great volunteerism is not dead and we need to support these newbies with a great big thank you.

I have found that everyone has something to offer no matter the age. Just remember to say Thank you and well done. Now, is that really too much to ask?

Ruth Bruegger lives in Rockton Illinois with her Husband Hans. Ruth has 4 grown children and eight grandchildren. Ruth has owned her own business for 15 years. She has attended the Eureka Ranch to learn marketing and was on the radio with Doug Hall. Ruth has been written up for Tourism ideas in a book written by the University of Wisconsin. She has her CIAO in Taxes. Ruth wrote political bios, church missions newsletter and the first History of Harlem Township. She was the first woman on the Zoning Board in Rockton IL, also served on the Village Board. She has won many business awards over the years as well as being chosen to receive a Volunteer Award. Ruths passion is checking out new and interesting places and people. Ruths latest vision is to bring the Creative Secrets of Rockton Roscoe and South Beloit to you no matter where you live. To learn more about Ruths journey go to


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