Mid-Columbia volunteers generous with their time

It's not surprising these days to hear of an agency or a company announcing cutbacks. Unfortunately, it's become the rule rather than the exception.

The Corps of Engineers is looking at a $669,000 shortfall this year. We suppose that is to be expected.

What is surprising, however, is its strategy for dealing with it.

The two options that usually are on the discussion table are cutting people or cutting services.

But the Corps is pursuing a third option: Soliciting volunteers.

It's true there will be a shortening of the season and some juggling of boundaries, even a closure or two. But the approach that caught our attention is the call for volunteers to help operate the parks.

We know from past experience that if any community can make this work, ours can.

Already Richland uses volunteers to mow some of the small neighborhood parks and keep them clean.

Mid-Columbians are notoriously generous with their time and their money -- two valuable commodities.

Some people have more money than others, so it's easier for them to donate financially. Others may be just getting by.

But we all have the same limits on our time -- 24 precious hours each day.

What we do with those hours determines how much money we have, how we touch other people's lives and how satisfied we are with our place in the universe.

Volunteering might not improve the first one, but it definitely contributes to the other two on the list.

True, there is no shortage of causes to put your efforts behind. There are short-term and ongoing opportunities for volunteer service in our community.

And, regardless of your interests, there is some need especially tailored just for you -- or so it seems.

So if you just love Levey Park, 10 miles east of Pasco, (and we do) maybe you want to be the person that volunteers to mow the grass out there. After all, it is shady and you could finish your shift with a quick dip in the Snake River.

Or maybe you want to spend some time in Orofino, Idaho, and help with checking people in and out of their campsites.

If you love the outdoors and can find time in your busy day (and we recognize that everyone's days are busy) call District Natural Resources Management at 509-527-7139 or email VolunteerCOEWalla@usace.army.mil.

Some people, no doubt, would rather volunteer to coach a T-ball team or raise funds for the symphony. But the beauty of a diverse community is that there really is something for everyone. There is also an opportunity for everyone.

The generous hearts and willing hands of the Mid-Columbia have been demonstrated time and again.

Even in times of economic downturn -- or perhaps especially in hard times -- we expect to see strong volunteerism in our community.

It's the kind of people that live here.