EDITOR’S COLUMN | Hearts & Hammers makes South Whidbey great

Every year on the same Saturday, South Whidbey becomes the coolest place in the world. And I don’t mean temperatures — Saturday was a broiler.

I’m talking about Hearts & Hammers’ annual workday. It was this past weekend, and like always, it was pure inspiration. Hundreds of people sacrificed an entire day of the their all-to precious weekend for people they’ve likely never met.

They woke up early, as in 7 a.m. early, threw on old jeans and work shirts, and headed out the door. The rest of day was spent toiling in the sun, doing everything from pulling weeds and building porches to scrubbing roofs and shoveling mountains of garbage (in one case, about 10 truck loads).

They are Hearts & Hammers volunteers, self-sacrificing individuals whose only aim is to help people who, for a multitude of reasons, couldn’t help themselves.

This year, there were 350 of them — basically a small army. They hit 34 homes in locations from Greenbank, Freeland, Langley and Clinton to everywhere in between.

There are a lot of things that are really cool about the annual workday, but one of my personal favorites is the attitude of volunteers. They show up with smiles, work hard, laugh a lot and nearly always have a great time. And they do it while helping others. Talk about making the world a better place.

Also cool is the sheer diversity of the people who show up. They range from the very young to the very old; from at-home parents to working professionals; from the very powerful (there was more than one elected official sweating away on Saturday, but I’ll keep them humble by preserving their anonymity) to the guy and gal who could probably use a bit of help themselves. Their common bond? Their shared desire to help their fellows, to put away selfishness and self-centeredness for a day so that South Whidbey can be a better place.

It is. And they deserve our thanks.

From Hearts and Hammers’ leaders — board members, team captains, etc. — to the squad of photographers that hit every work site and the chefs who fed the legion of volunteers, our hats at the South Whidbey Record are off to you.