We just had our Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation, and every year we pick a theme for our meeting.  This year is was a quote from Harry Firestone, “You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.”    When I think of that quote, I think of the three people that we honored.  They all give the best of themselves, and are a great part of our community.  I guess the one reason I love living in Bradford, Pennsylvania, is because it is such a caring community, and that we have so many people that truly do give of themselves.  This morning we were at the Habitat for Humanity house on Interstate Parkway, and when I was talking with some of the volunteers, I could see the pride in their faces, as to what they had accomplished with their project.  It’s not easy giving hours and days to a project like this, but I know it gives these folks a great feeling of accomplishment.

It doesn’t always have to be a big project, and it doesn’t have to be something that you do every day or week or month, just giving something back to your community is a great feeling.  We have volunteers that come in every month and help us with our newsletter.  They always seem to have a good time, and we enjoy having them for the afternoon.  It’s only once a month, but we all look forward to having them.

I think of the Memorial Day Parade that is coming up, and the time it takes the folks at the VFW and the American Legion to put this parade together.  They always do an outstanding job, and again they have to have a lot of pride when that parade starts at the end of Main Street.

I think of the Festa Italiana, and all the volunteers that work so hard to bring this great event to our community.  The results are outstanding, with thousands of people coming to Bradford for the festival.  It has to be so rewarding to all the volunteers to see the happiness they bring every year.

I think of the Library Derby Gala for the Library Endowment, and how hard the volunteers have worked for the last several years to increase the endowment, so that someday, the Library will be able to operate with the income from that endowment.

I think of the philanthropy of so many of our industries and individuals, who give back so much to our community.  We would never survive without all their help.

There are so many more examples that I could give, and I’m sure you all can think of many more.

So, here is my challenge to those who say they would like to do something, but haven’t done it yet, just jump in and the next time you see something going on, or you read about it in the paper, pick up the phone and call that organization and be part of that event,  I can guarantee that you will feel great for giving back to your community.

Finally, when I was with Walmart, I taught a class for new managers, and I always started out with a story about Alfred Nobel.  Here is that story:

A pacifist at heart and an inventor by nature, Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. However, the invention that he thought would end all wars was seen by many others as an extremely deadly product. In 1888, when Alfred’s brother Ludvig died, a French newspaper mistakenly ran an obituary for Alfred which called him the “merchant of death.”

Not wanting to go down in history with such a horrible epitaph, Nobel created a will that soon shocked his relatives and established the now famous Nobel Prizes.

So here is your chance, to leave a legacy in your community by giving the best of yourself!