Bob Batch: Volunteers of America

Bob Batch

Bob Batch

By Bob Batch

I’ve railed here before against an outlook that is so prevalent in the world around us if we follow the drivel on network television and in tabloid newspapers, but bear with me again.  People identified as heroes and exceptional examples of humanity are mostly those who pose, act and maybe entertain, but do little else.

While there is nothing terrible about people being entertainers, it is a little scary that our culture is so caught up with celebrities, and so admiring of individuals who really add nothing to our common good except a vicarious thrill.

Likewise, though we may not necessarily love the rich and powerful, we envy their lifestyle and covet that existence so much, that we can become pawns in their game of power when we support the very people who oppress us by holding them in such high esteem.

It’s ironic that in a country that is supposed to have been built on middle class values, we are being led by some to turn on workers and retirees as villains, and the cause of all the economic problems our country faces.  Somehow, while a small segment of the population is swimming in money made mostly through dubious practices which amount to nothing less than ‘financial flim –flam’, there is a sentiment being stoked by the puppets of these elite that public employees of all types along with any kind of unionized workers have been the ruination of our economy.

Sadly, we can no longer afford to pay people for services like teaching, road building, transportation, police & fire, so we’ll be turning those employees into homeless people who will work just so they can collect their welfare check which should be sufficient to survive.

Personally, I believe in the value of people and the obligation we should all have to each other even when some are not able to accomplish as much or excel the way others can.  I think we should all be more sensitive to other people’s hardships, and in accordance with those oft-cited ‘Christian values’ purportedly cherished by so many, be more charitable and merciful.

In the early part of May I had the opportunity to provide musical entertainment for a luncheon here in town at the American Legion Hall.  It was arranged by the members for residents at the New Jersey Home for Veterans in Paramus.  Going in I really had no idea what Billy Jones and I were there to play for.  I thought it was an event for one of the members from town or something, and imagined a girl popping out of a cake or some other distraction.

In the kitchen prepping all the food and arranging the event were Joe Criscuola, Donny Rae, Joey Di Blasio, Eddie Garcia and ‘Deacon’ Bob Thompson.  It turned out all these guys volunteered their time and effort to put out food and refreshments so a bus load of Vets who served our country years ago could have an afternoon out with a little entertainment and lunch.  Deacon Bob mentioned to me later that Bobby Goodwin does a lot of volunteer work at the veteran’s home and was instrumental in arranging the event.

Before that afternoon I didn’t even know that there was a Veteran’s Home in Paramus. Until that afternoon it hardly ever crossed my mind that there are people volunteering their time to help make life a little bit more bearable for other people who’s health and fortune have waned.

I know the guys who volunteered to run that luncheon didn’t do it with any expectation of praise or pats on the back.  None of them were there for a ‘Photo-op’ or to enhance their reputation with the public. None of them are running ‘Tax-free’ charitable foundations as far as I know. They are just members of the community willing to help out for a good cause.

On every level of communication from print to the air waves our attention is directed to the most banal, idiotic issues and events dressed up as being of major consequence.  Anything sensational and depraved is picked over by the collective media and given an intense spot light until another equally salacious story comes along.

Our attention should be on real interactions between people in the community around us.  It would promote much more hope and faith in the world if we focused on people who extend a helping hand and likewise extended one ourselves.

Also, it would be nice if we held in higher esteem people who actually work at real jobs rather than people who go around making speeches about how badly people need jobs.  We might want to rediscover the value of people who do all the ‘Small boring jobs’ that keep our lives going instead of being so memorized by silly idols and political salesmen.

Do I have any volunteers?

Related posts:

  1. Bob Batch: Getting the Picture
  2. Bob Batch: Remembering Mrs. Hanusek

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