EDITORIAL: Local event volunteers deserve applause for hard work

The calendar has been packed with local events lately. Thousands of people have been entertained at rodeos, car shows, parades and more around Malheur County. None of that would happen without an army of volunteers who deserve appreciation for their work.

As with any entertainment production, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes before the first fan shows up. That work starts months before and entails orchestration of a thousand details. Rounding up other volunteers, for one. Assigning them all duties, for another. And then there are basics – insurance, marketing, sponsorships, signs and schedules.

In Nyssa, the annual Nyssa Nite Rodeo is a huge production. The rodeo board of more than a dozen people is ably led by Kim Speelman, rodeo president when she’s not handling insurance business in Vale. No one draws a paycheck for the hours and hours of time given to the event. And the Nyssa Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture stepped up in a big way this year to help add luster to the weekend. The rodeo breakfast, for instance, drew about 120 people – not a bad start for a new event. The chamber board, led by Scott McGinnis, gets credit for that. One volunteer – photographer Bob Quick – pulled double duty on both the rodeo and chamber board.

In Vale, the Fourth of July weekend was filled with more events than ever. The board of the Vale Fourth of July Rodeo, led by local businessman Jim Mendiola, put on another well-run, popular event that gave fans tremendous value for a $10 ticket. Only when you go behind the scenes do you realize the countless tasks that have to flow seamlessly to pull off a rodeo. Mendiola and his board did it not one night but four nights in a row.

During the day, the Vale Chamber of Commerce made sure people had plenty to do. Wadleigh Park was action central, from stick horse races to the Lions Club breakfast. The board of the chamber, led by Dwight Keller, arranged for a big boost in participation by vendors at the park this year. The chamber also hosts the annual parade, which drew hundreds despite the heat. Keller is one example of locals who volunteer in several places. Besides his chamber service, Keller is a Lions Club member and was busy cooking sausages for breakfast. Holly Stepleton of Stepleton also multi-tasked, heading up the parade work for the chamber while fulfilling duties to the rodeo board.

And now it’s back to Nyssa for Thunderegg Days – and another exhibition of the might of volunteers.

Your friends and neighbors who raise their hand to help don’t do it for glory or recognition. They’ll get precious little of both. They do it because they believe in the traditions of the territory. They do it because they believe it is a citizen’s duty to help when asked. They do it for the joy of shouldering a big job with others as a team and succeeding. Often, they take time away from jobs and businesses.

They each deserve applause. They should get their name up in lights somewhere. But at least they can get thanks. Next time you attend an event and you see someone obviously helping putting it on, take a moment to tell them thank you. Such a courtesy from another resident would probably be worth more to these community workhorses than a check and plaque. — LZ