The assertion by [Idyllwild Fire Chief] Norm Walker that volunteers deserve the highest level of respect is misguided. [See “Chief’s Corner, in the Dec. 15 issue of the Town Crier.] [In my opinion,] most serve for selfish self-aggrandizing purposes as a means to validate and self-purpose, whether it be financial or for some manipulated position of authority, respect or power within our community — a sad state of affairs.
Few selflessly serve only for the greater good. Unfortunately no name comes to mind, not that there isn’t such a person.
For instance, when I see someone nominated for the Essence of Idyllwild award, I see a business owner with a profit motive selling hospitality, not exactly selfless. When I see a water board member, who sells real estate, referring to his service as volunteerism, I can’t help but think of the benefits his business gains. From his special interest stem policy decisions, which may be, perhaps, inconsistent with the greater interest of residents.
Maybe it’s an innkeeper who volunteers on the local recreation board. They might push for a convention center and argue it’s a community park benefiting the entire community.
Some would say its a symbiotic volunteer relationship. I call it a selfish exploitation of trust against property taxpayers unworthy of community recognition.
As for public servants, they serve daily for the public good. Their reward is both their service and their very good guaranteed pay at property taxpayer expense. Their service is expected to be professional and certainly not self-aggrandizing.
Most important their praise should not serve as a relief valve or replacement for our own failings to selflessly volunteer within our community.
So Norm, volunteer recognition is a must but not administered as a blind umbrella or for selfish or self serving purposes.