Volunteers make this community a great place to be

Posted: Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kudos to the organizers and competitors of last weekend's Tri the Kenai triathlon. The inaugural event was, by all accounts, a smashing success.

Nice work as well to the organizers and competitors in last week's Run for the River, which continues to grow, adding a pre-race dinner to the festivities this year.

All told, between the 5-kilometer and 10-mile Run for the River races and the triathlon, some 410 people of all ages, from across the Peninsula and around the state, found themselves out enjoying the fresh air, sunshine, camaraderie -- and a little exercise to boot -- on central Peninsula roads and trails.

Throw in the hundreds of motorcyclists in town for the state Harley Owners Group rally, and the Peninsula was the place to be.

These events don't just happen. There's a host of volunteers and tremendous community support that make them possible.

We've said it many times before, and we hope to say it many more times in the future: the willingness of people here to come out and support community events is remarkable.

A report recently released by the federal government-run Corporation for National and Community Service found that the volunteer rate in Alaska is fifth, and second in the average number of hours volunteered per resident. The report showed that between 2007 and 2009, about 188,000 volunteers in Alaska contributed nearly 30 million hours of service. Individually, Alaskans volunteered more than 59 hours of service per year during that period.

We have a suspicion that here on the Peninsula, we're skewing that average upward. Youth activities, fundraising, social issues, the arts scene, sporting events -- it's difficult to find something going on that doesn't have a corps of volunteers behind it.

So, our gratitude to those who devoted much of their time to get us out and active last weekend. And our encouragement to anyone who has some time or talent to share to find a group with which to share. Your efforts make our community a better place to live.

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