Canyon Lake's volunteers honored

By Carol Bisset

Without the assistance of the Times Guardian, how many civic organizations can you name that Canyon Lake citizens are active in?

Next time you are sitting alone with a new book enjoying lunch at one of our fine local restaurants, (where some actually volunteer their time) try listing some of the civic groups you and your friends talk about when "you all" volunteer.

Before you say, "What a boring challenge!" just a minute, stop and think about that pint of blood you gave in the parking lot of Super S and then think about whose life you might have changed. And what about the laughs you had at the Pilots play last month. Do you wonder how your $ 10.00 donation made a difference in someone's life? "Hello, I'm calling from S Dakota and heard about Canyon Lake from an R.V. friend of mine. Can you tell me about your area?" A Chamber volunteer enthusiastically answers, "Sure, Canyon Lake is the "Garden Jewel of the Hill Country." The winter Tex. quickly responds "Can't wait to come! Please send me some info. Thanks." (Are you now thinking, "Tomorrow on my lunch break I'll start that new best seller I checked out from that nice Tye Preston Library volunteer.)

A financially struggling couple with 3 children has just been told their electricity will be cut off if they don't pay their bill in a week, and there is little food in the house much less money to buy Christmas gifts. A CRRC volunteer gently calms the couple and offers help to get them through the holidays. As the 4th grade Mountain Valley students gather on the floor, the words in the classic novel "Black Beauty" come alive as a retired teacher puts excitement into every sentence.

And what about the father who takes off work early on Mondays to coach his son's basketball team. He could stay late at his real estate office closing house deals, but instead he choose treasured time with his son and team mates.

Thanks to Master Naturalists who groom the walking trails on the Guadalupe River, you and I can easily enjoy the rivers natural beauty....

You might not have thought of some of the organizations or volunteers that were just mentioned and you are probably thinking of others who make a difference in Canyon Lake. Like a Sunday School teacher or your neighbor who takes care of homeless dogs at CLASS and is willing to watch your animals while you are away for Christmas.

And speaking of Christmas, there would be no gifts for many if it were not for Elf Tabatha, the Shriners, Masons, Salvation Army and Lions. Your list probably includes 10 fingers and 10 toes now and is beginning to look like one of those Academy Award thank you list. Better start writing the civic groups down.

This past Sunday, the CRRC North Pole Village gave the perfect atmosphere to honor our Canyon Lake Volunteers with the first "Volunteer Thank You Reception" in our area. Between 40 and 50 groups and or non profit activities were represented.

In attendance was Commissioner Jan Kennedy who said that Canyon Lake could qualify as "the Volunteer capital of Texas". She also quoted that if volunteers were paid only minimum wage their dollar worth would exceed 239 million dollars a year which equals 9 million full time employees. Commissioner Jack Dawson gave the history of our first Canyon Lake Volunteer Fire Dept. and the old fire truck which would only start going down hill. Mr. Dawson said "We were just neighbors helping neighbors". What perseverance and dedication!

State Rep. Carter Casteel] shared warm memories of her modest family upbringing. Ms. Casteel watched her parents volunteer many hours when she was a child and learned the value of volunteer work. Her roots go deep in this area and her father-in law, who was the first to seed the Canyon Lake golf course said, "We must train young people to work and love this place or else it won't survive." She stated that her grandmother had a special vision for this land that is now the Hidden Valley Sports Park.

Jay Brewer, former CRRC Board Pres. shared a letter written by a volunteer 3 years ago to Pres. Bush expressing how the flood of 2002 united a community rather than drowning it. The letter stated, "A vision only becomes a reality when people are inspired." You can count on the volunteers of Canyon Lake to make a difference. They are strong in spirit, strong in faith, strong in numbers and strong in visions. We are proud to be Volunteers!

And you thought this would be a boring challenge, pretty exciting list when you think about it! Aren't you glad you are a "Valued Volunteer?"

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