Opinion

Editorial : Linking hands in Saugus

What better way for people to show their appreciation for veterans than to ask them to buy a personalized paver brick like the ones volunteers in Saugus are selling to help beautify the Saugus Veterans War Monument Park?

Applications are due by August 30 so the personalized bricks are ready in time for Veterans Day. No one can put a price on freedom except for veterans, who gave their all to allow all of us to enjoy it. But a small contribution intended to enhance a monument saluting veterans is an investment in freedom.

The veterans park at the corner of Winter and Central streets is already a strong and fitting tribute to town veterans. The collection of eight monuments honors veterans of wars spanning 155 years of American history through the current Global War on Terror.

Among its many tributes to town veterans is the four-year-old Korean War memorial reflecting Rob Sipple’s generous donation in honor of his father, Korean veteran Timothy Kavanaugh. To their credit, volunteers are leading the effort to sell the personalized bricks that will pave pathways crisscrossing the park.

The messages purchasers can have engraved on the bricks are as much a tribute to veterans as they are a tribute to the individuals, families, businesses, and organizations purchasing the bricks. The personalized paver campaign is just the latest example of volunteer initiative in a town that can be proud of its spirit of volunteerism.

Town teenagers who dubbed themselves the “mini Vinnies” are conducting volunteer service projects in the spirit of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The projects, including an Earth Day initiative, are launched by the teens without any expectation of school credit or any other award beyond the gratification that comes to anyone who volunteers.

“Junior Superintendents of Saugus” are out and about this summer as part of another local volunteer effort aimed at connecting town youth with summer projects under the auspices of the Youth and Recreation and Public Works departments. Participating kids get the triple benefit of helping out the town, having something meaningful to do during the summer and amassing civic participation experience.

Too often volunteer efforts get measured in terms of end results. How much money was raised? How many people participated? Answers to those questions define the scope of a volunteer initiative but they fail to strike at the heart of volunteerism. Everyone who buys a personalized paver with veterans in mind, every kid signing up to be a “mini Vinnie” or “Junior Super” is someone maximizing their individual potential to change the life of another person for the better.

Volunteers aren’t just people who lend a helping hand. They are people who extend a hand to others so they may in turn reach their hand out to someone in need.

Here’s hoping that the spirit of volunteerism helping to define the best of Saugus continues to grow.

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