Volunteer efforts too often are taken for granted.
That’s not been the case at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, where patients and staff members alike appreciate the work of volunteers throughout the health-care facility.
The local hospital has a fine tradition in honoring an outstanding volunteer who demonstrates the spirit of St. Catherine of Siena, lives the core values of the hospital each day and shows great respect for patients.
Marie Millershaski recently was named Volunteer of the Year for 2017. She makes baby blankets for the Maternal Child Department, using her own money to purchase thread and material. After her husband lost his battle to cancer, Millershaski sought a way to help others, and so far has created nearly 600 blankets for babies born at the hospital.
Brian Schultz was recognized for contributions that go beyond his work at the hospital. He creates a small chest to hold babies in the rare instances of prenatal death.
Millershaski and Schultz deserve praise for presenting a timeless life lesson: It’s more blessed to serve than be served.
Consider their efforts emblematic of the many generous people who devote free time to helping others — and not just in health care, but in many other ways. Legions of volunteers make significant contributions daily through education programs, disaster preparedness, youth mentoring, preparing and delivering food and more.
Examples of as much are plentiful in the Sunflower State. Kansas consistently ranks in the top 10 in the nation for the rate of volunteerism, according to Volunteering and Civic Life in America reports.
Unfortunately, such efforts in Kansas and beyond recently were threatened at the federal level.
In his proposed 2019 budget, President Trump sought to eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service, which partners with nonprofit community and faith-based groups that utilize volunteer forces: Habitat for Humanity, AmeriCorps and the American Red Cross, for example. Pushback against the Trump administration's shortsighted idea was palpable and successful; policymakers eventually opted to properly fund the federal agency.
Of all people, fiscal conservatives should see the cost efficiency of volunteerism, and support sensible investment in programs proven to provide substantial return in communities nationwide.