Friday, October 01, 2010

Because That's What You Do

Community has several definitions in Wikipedia, depending on whether one is looking at biology, sociology, anthropology, or any other of the myriad of disciplines.

Psychologists McMillan & Chavis (1986) define sense of community as "a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members' needs will be met through their commitment to be together."

I like that definition, academic though it may be. We live in a tiny community. Although I doubt anyone else around here does, I refer to it as a village. We even have our own community well! Ranchers and farmers can stop by and fill the tanks on their trucks, to be used for whatever it is that needs watering. The well comes complete with an American flag and a plaque commemorating the Beecher Bible and Rifle Colony:

A semi-retired resident of our community mows the area. I don't know if he is reimbursed for his services or not.

Our community has a volunteer fire department. If it weren't for the men who volunteer their time for training and emergency runs, I do know many people would have lost their property in fires, for we live too far out in the country for a county fire department to make timely arrivals during a blaze. Ditto the ambulance service here. We have first responders who arrive before the county ambulance does, who can set up a triage system and begin First Aid till the emergency vehicles arrive.

I am part of a group of women who provide funeral dinners at our church. It is a valuable community service, one which we women can coordinate in a matter of a day or two, to serve a small family after graveside services, or a hundred mourners after the funeral. Sometimes it's for a stranger, and sometimes it's for "one of ours". And we do it because that's what you do. The same as the firemen and the mowers and the people who stop and get out of their cars to get errant cattle off the road and back into their pasture.

Tomorrow is a large community bike ride that comes through our parts. There are so many volunteers that it should run very smoothly. And the weather looks to be great! So in the early morning I will go down to the local community center in the next town/village over (because my little village may have a well, but no community center to speak of.) and set up the aid station for the cyclists. I have some "wrench guys" working there with me. I am in charge of food and rehydration, and the wrench guys are in charge of mechanicals. We are all volunteering, and it looks to be a fun time. And we do it, because we cyclists are a pretty close-knit, and fun, community.
That Spouse o' Mine and his Aussie nephew, John

Here's a great story about some farmers in Montana banding together to help out "one of their own" - because...

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