RICHARD HOWELL became the latest local person to be celebrated for his service when the 85-year-old was lauded by the Quincy Shrine Club as its Shriner of the Year.
Howell has been a member of the group for more than 20 years, but his service does not end there. He has been a member of the Plainville Lions Club for more than 40 years and a member of the Quincy Exchange Club for more than 50 years.
"Once I join, they can't get rid of me," he joked when sitting down with Herald-Whig editors last week.
His years of service and dedication to helping others are to be admired, and we certainly do so.
Thankfully for nearly everyone in this region, he isn't alone in his dedication. In organization after organization, people who go above and beyond for the benefit of others can be found on membership rosters.
Businesses donate money, goods and services to charity and encourage their employees to do so.
This spirit of generosity is one of the blessings that make this area such a tremendous place to raise a family.
However, this isn't something to sit back and simply count on from year to year. This sense of community is only as strong as the people committed to continue building it tomorrow and the day after.
That is why it is imperative that the next generation of servant leaders begins getting involved now. Service organizations must make youth outreach part of their mission. Schools across the area are partnering with organizations to encourage advocacy and engagement among their respective student bodies, and those efforts should be celebrated and encouraged.
Parents, if you're involved in a service organization, take your children to volunteer with you. If you're not involved in one, examine your calendar and see if there is time you and your family can give.
Somewhere out there right now is another young man or woman ready to give decades of his or her life to making the tri-state area stronger. Let's make sure they are shown how to do so.