Volunteer spirit strong in Basehor
At Saturday night's "Basehor 2000 PRIDE Celebration," U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun noted that on a national level, the spirit of volunteerism is lagging today.
"Estimates are that from $10 billion to $15 billion has been lost in the last three to four years as a result of people not volunteering as much as they used to," said Ryun, R-Kansas.
However, Ryan observed, despite national statistics, volunteerism is alive and well in Basehor.
For instance, a Spirit Award is given each year to honor Basehor citizens who go out of their way to serve the community. This year, Jeral and Nola Cooper were chosen.
Chris Garcia, outgoing Chamber of Commerce president, presented the award and a key to the city to the Coopers.
Chuck Wildeson, chairman of the senior Gold PRIDE group, said the Coopers help the community in various ways.
Jeral Cooper serves as treasurer for the VFW, PRIDE and the community education group, and also serves on the board of director of the Basehor Historical Museum Society.
Nola Cooper volunteers with the PRIDE organization, and helps with the community education group and the school district.
Yet another new volunteer organization, the "Welcome Home" group, was established last May in Basehor. Members of the group welcome new members to the community. To date, 90 welcome home bags have been given to new residents of the Basehor area.
Mayor John Pfannenstiel noted that Basehor is a city where volunteers help the city keep up with the growth in the area.
"I don't think we can separate this progress from volunteerism," Pfannenstiel said.
He specifically mentioned the renovation of and addition to the high school and the new Glenwood Ridge Elementary School, as well as the beginning of the city's new wastewater treatment plant and the improvement of the city's water system.
"The independent water district, the township fire department, the library board and the recreational system, all were started by volunteers and all still use volunteers," Pfannenstiel said.
"In Basehor, any time that there has been a need for a community service or facility, there has been a group of people willing to step forward and volunteer," he added.