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Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

Volunteers Luncheon
May 24, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is an honor to be here with you today for this luncheon. Thanks to Joanne Williams and the Baltimore County Department of Aging as well as to the Commission on Aging for organizing today’s luncheon. Thanks also to everyone here at Martin's West for being such wonderful hosts.

Baltimore County Volunteers

George Sand, a French author, once said, “It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides.” This is not merely a clever turn of phrase; it is a truth that I see played out in communities across this County every single day. And there is no better example of that truth than the Baltimore County Volunteers.

In our classrooms, in our parks, in our downtowns, and in our libraries, they use the skills, commitment, and experience forged over the course of a lifetime to help our community make strides towards becoming a better place to live for all of our residents. At an age where no one would blame them for sitting back and taking it easy, these men and women continue to work hard at building a better community, and all of us are the better for it.

Contributions

Their contributions to our County are quite simply, staggering. Within our County, 2,414 registered volunteers donated 331,090 hours of time toward volunteerism. Everyone in this room has contributed at least 100 hours of volunteer services, and some of you have lifetime contributions adding up to as many as 1,000 or even 4,000 hours. If you assign the federal dollar wage to a volunteer hour, in Baltimore County alone – volunteers would have earned a total of $7,072,082 for their efforts in the last year alone.

The sheer diversity of your volunteer efforts is remarkable, and the difference you have made can’t be measured in mere dollars. Some of you have helped others navigate the complicated tax code; others have mentored children as Kindergarten volunteers; some of you have delivered meals to seniors who can’t leave their home; while others have helped clean up our beautiful open spaces.

As a result, it is virtually impossible to walk through any of our beautiful parks, visit any one of our schools, or take a trip to one of our historic neighborhood downtowns, without finding an example of a place or a life that has not been improved in some way by the work of these volunteers.

Recognition

It is fitting that we are here today to recognize the work of these volunteers during May. Since 1963, this month has been used to celebrate "Older Americans Month," by recognizing the enormous contributions of our senior citizens. This year’s theme, fittingly, is “Never too old to play,” which encourages older Americans to stay engaged and active in their lives and in their neighborhoods. I think that the men and women we honor today, not only serve as positive role models for all of us, their neighbors, but for seniors throughout the nation, because they demonstrate the kind of impact that senior citizens can still have on their communities.

On behalf of all the people of Baltimore County, I thank you for your dedication and your energy, and I am honored to participate in today’s recognition of your efforts.

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