Thank heavens for volunteers

Thank heavens for volunteers


Pablo Picasso once wrote: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” 

Over the years, communities have been made better by the many gifts that have been given away by those who volunteer. Thank heavens for them.

For a number of years now, this newspaper has been asking for nominations from our readers in order to honor these unsung heroes from the local community who have given so much of their time and talents to an altruistic cause.  At times, calling for nominations seemed as difficult as pulling teeth, and then the number of nominations that finally did come in paled in comparison to the number of people out there that are worthy to receive this recognition. However, we did receive worthy candidates. Though all of the nominees deserve credit, the selection committee chose one that stood out among the others: Frank McAlonan.

It was 30 years ago that McAlonan galvanized his neighbors to save the last shorefront parcel of land in Sayville from development. He held meetings, started a discussion with the Town of Islip and began circulating a petition. Though the battle was difficult at times, there were two very important outcomes from that struggle. First, a new civic organization was formed: the River and Bay Neighborhood Association of Sayville, and more importantly, the development of the parcel was stopped to make way for Sayville Marina Park. The land is now a virtual playground instead of a row of condominium townhouses that would have blocked access to the bay.

McAlonan and the others who were nominated have set a great example. They highlight the importance of giving one’s self to a greater cause where the rewards are the positive changes that benefit all. 

We need more people like them. And because of their encouragement, the chances of that continuing on to the next generation are a whole lot better.