As we contemplate the holidays and the coming of a new year, it is worth thinking about all of the many volunteers in the community who work for numerous organizations helping people around them.

We often point out that the strength of the Midcoast is that we really are a community. Neighbors look out for neighbors.

Locally we benefit from the work of numerous organizations, large and small, that help in this effort including United Midcoast Charities, The Knox County Homeless Coalition, Midcoast Habitat for Humanity, area Rotary clubs, AIO Food Pantry, animal shelters and hospitals in the area, MCH and Meals on Wheels, New Hope Midcoast, Rockland Elks Lodge, local libraries, local churches and more organizations too numerous to list here.

A dedicated group of volunteers make these efforts possible. United Midcoast Charities President John Viehman explains that these are the people around us who get things done. These are the folks who just show up, over and over, and help out. They often receive little recognition and seek less. They are in it because they like to be useful and they enjoy keeping busy.

“Here in Maine we fret about our aging demographic, yet a lot of volunteers are in that demographic group because they have the time to devote to it and more importantly the life experience to know how much it matters,” Viehman said. “So we have a huge resource for building resiliency there. Volunteers invariably recognize how fortunate they’ve been and simply want to pay it forward while exploring new ways to make a meaningful contribution. Plus it’s a lot of fun!”

Viehman said the current estimated national value of each volunteer hour is $29.95, and they are countless. How much would it cost to replace all of that effort in our community?

As you consider your New Year resolution options, consider volunteering your time with a local organization or nonprofit. It is a great way to make friends, do some fulfilling work and put a smile on your face.

As for the community, we thank all of the volunteers for their important efforts.

Stand strong against racism and antisemitism

There is no place for racism and antisemitism in our community.

For that reason, we are deeply troubled by an act of vandalism in which someone knocked over and damaged Rockland’s community menorah overlooking Rockland Harbor from Main Street.

This act took some work since the menorah was bolted in place, and that effort is worrying. Rockland has shown the greater Midcoast community over the years through its votes and its culture that our shared values are those of inclusion.

The United States has had poor leadership in the recent past, and we have seen that bad leaders breed bad behavior. It can be a tool of the cynical to gain power by stoking fears of other people and cultures. We urge residents to resist this kind of thinking as it is nothing less than a stain upon the soul.

In short, we are better than this.

We commend local churches and the Adas Yoshuron Synagogue for working together as a faith community to stand against this kind of behavior. A message of unity among our houses of worship and an effort on their part to help each other serves as an inspiration to us all.

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The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald, The Republican Journal and The Free Press employ more than 40 local people engaged in bringing your community news to you each week. From all of us to all of you, Happy Holidays!

The Courier-Gazette editorial board collaborates on an editorial regarding a topic of interest or community concern.