EDITOR’S COLUMN | Don’t wait for aliens to arrive, go out and volunteer

By JUSTIN BURNETT

According to the famous quote by notable philosopher Justin Burnett, a community is only as strong as its volunteers.

Given the staggering number of non-profit groups and volunteer-based organizations around here, I suppose that says a lot about the might of South Whidbey. There’s always something going on, a cry for help here or a request for labor there, and people always seem to step up.

I suspect it’s a matter of boredom; there hasn’t been a UFO sighting on the South End for years, and beach walks and farmers markets only take up so much time. So why not pitch in with friends to do some good?

Sunlight Beach residents did just that this week when they rallied to assist Jean Wilcox in her decade-long mission to keep the dike at Useless Bay clear of poison hemlock. Socrates is long dead so it’s not like we need the stuff, and the county’s sole weed guy is hopelessly overwhelmed. As he noted in today’s front page story, the county actually relies on dedicated and self-sacrificing people like Wilcox and her friends to keep the island free of noxious weeds.

Clinton residents will make their own slice of Whidbey a better place to live from 10 a.m. to noon today with a second clean-up of Dan Porter Park. More than 30 people got together in March, again all volunteers, for a long overdue overhaul of the surrounding forest — they cleared trails, picked up mountains of storm debris, removed ivy and tons of trash. It was really cool. The place looked great, people visited with friends and made new ones, talked about how awesome the South Whidbey Record is, and even got a few free beverages and pizza out of the deal.

So, if you’re like me and anxiously awaiting the next interesting thing to happen on South Whidbey, don’t wait and instead make it happen yourself. Aliens will likely arrive someday, but the clean-up at Dan Porter Park is this weekend.

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