As the calendar marks our first full week of official summer — by the way, unbelievably, summer break is at about the halfway over point — certain Polk Countians are shining extra brightly, as they do this time each year.
(This go-around, one may even argue they are shining more brightly than the sun during this wetter than wet season.)
They come in many forms and from various backgrounds. They champion different causes. And so often they move in mysterious ways behind the scenes of our best local traditions.
But they go by one name: volunteers.
And they are behind so much of what makes Polk County summers special.
Earlier this month, many of these special folks could be found working countless hours organizing youth events, such as Polk County’s youth fair, the Sonic Freedom Shootout and the library’s Wet N’ Wild BBQ, to name just a few.
This week and next, they can be found in a choir rehearsal room and on Southwest Baptist University’s campus, making ready for the return of a tradition so many of us grew up with as a summer highlight: Rotary’s Celebration of Freedom.
Throughout these remaining summer weeks, they can be found on practice fields, in pools and in gymnasiums, working with our youngest athletes, ensuring their summers are filled with skill-building and teamwork. At Cribbs Youth Park and in area schools, making certain kids have lunch. Across the county, gathering thousands of school supplies to get the next school year off to a good start. And in other places, behind so many good deeds.
They do their “jobs” so efficiently and with no fuss. They make the work look so easy — so easy, in fact, it’s sometimes hard to remember the events and good works they make happen are not brought to us all by magic.
But it isn’t magic. It’s hard work. It’s sweat, and it’s dedication.
And it’s worthy of not just our gratitude, but also our admiration.
• • •
Speaking of individuals going above and beyond, it’s been our pleasure to report on a number of good deeds committed recently on behalf of a different category of community members — those of the four-legged and webbed-foot variety.
Today's edition features the dramatic, yet heartwarming, tale of Quackers — the latest example of local emergency responders and citizens coming to the rescue of one of Polk County’s animal friends.