, Salem, MA

April 9, 2014

Letter: Thank you, Salem volunteers

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

The Parks, Recreation and Community Service Department for the city of Salem would like to recognize and thank local agencies, businesses and organizations for making community service an integral part of their mission. By extension, of course, we want to express our appreciation for those who have served our department by doing volunteer work through their association with those entities.

It is appropriate to declare our gratitude during the second week in April, National Volunteer Week, which has been celebrated for the past 40 years. In doing so, we’re keenly aware that we may overlook, in this letter, some entities whose members or employees have provided volunteer service during the past year. We apologize for any omissions and can assure they were not intentional.

Community service is part of Boy Scouts of America’s requirements to achieve Eagle Scout status, and Dominic Serino is well on his way to earning that recognition after leading an extensive cleanup of the grounds at the Revolutionary War-era Fort Lee. Serino recruited more than 30 volunteers to help with the project and created a Facebook page for a fledgling Friends of Fort Lee group.

The North Shore Community Development Coalition (NSCDC) is continually engaging young people in community-service projects that beautify Salem’s parks and playgrounds. Last year, Sarah Dionne coordinated groups of young people, in partnership with the National Forest Foundation, to do cleanup projects around The Point neighborhood.

This spring, Melissa Planter will coordinate a similar effort through the NSCDC, called Youth Get to The Point Day, which will include the efforts of YouthBuild North Shore, the Salem Rotary Club and Americorps.

Among businesses that chipped in on a volunteer basis last year was SavATree in Middleton, led by Ben Dugdale. A former Essex Street resident and arborist, he used to admire the trees at Salem Common and noticed they needed some attention. Last spring, a SavATree crew pruned troubled branches from trees near the playground area, reducing potential dangers for young guests.

AARP volunteer tax aides at the Senior Center annually help hundreds of people complete and file their returns accurately and on time. Two days a week, for three months, they navigate all the forms and files necessary to keep conscientious citizens on the right side of the IRS.

Numerous neighborhood associations and clubs, as well as several “Friends of ...” groups also showed their dedication to the city’s parks, playgrounds and programs.

To all of these entities and their members, participants and employees, we extend our deepest appreciation. If you know of any specific other that should be added to our list, please don’t hesitate to let us know. We’ll do our best to recognize them and their work on our Facebook page and Twitter.

We’d also like to recognize independent volunteers who do community service but are not necessarily associated with an agency, business, organization or other formal group. They’ve been invited to take a bow for their efforts at an informal volunteer appreciation gathering later this month. Instead of singling out anyone for special recognition, we want to try to make sure each and every volunteer knows how grateful we are for their work. As with groups, if we’ve overlooked any independent volunteers, please let us know so we can thank them. We want to do everything possible to make sure credit is given where it’s due.

Karen Partanen

Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department