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Springville Journal editorial: What can you do?

SPRINGVILLE — This week, I had the privilege of speaking with Charlan Priel, a 71-year-old Springville Trading Post volunteer. Not only has the Bliss resident and Springville-Griffith Institute graduate not retired, she said that she has no plans to.

Charlan has a farm, which she and her husband upkeep, themselves. She helps her son on his farm, she volunteers at the Springville auction, she is responsible for the gardening at her two churches, she hosts Bingo at The Pines in Machias and she spends a lot of time helping people at the Trading Post.

She was even the driving force behind the post’s annual Hike 4 Hunger and was that fundraiser’s No. 1 volunteer, raising more than $800 herself, this past spring!

Did I mention that she has diabetes and was told, last winter, that she would lose her feet? Not deterred by science or medicine, Charlan told her doctor that she simply could not have her feet amputated, because she needed to hike, to raise money for the hungry.

That’s dedication. I was so inspired, while talking with Charlan and, at the same time, embarrassed to realize I had never been as motivated as she is, to give of my time to help someone else.

The Southtowns offers a myriad of ways for us to help provide for the less fortunate. The Springville Trading Post stands in our own backyard, inviting anyone with a moment to spare to dedicate some time for the thousands of people the post sees, each year.

Rural Transit Service, which provides transportation to senior citizens and other area residents, is always looking for volunteer drivers. The Concord Nutrition Center feeds area seniors and many Meals on Wheels programs bring nourishment to those who can no longer travel.

These and many others operate on a daily or weekly basis, despite the many of us who are just too “busy” to help.

Not only has Charlan cared enough to make the time to volunteer, despite still having what equals out to be a full-time job, but she was determined to not let a “little thing” like diabetes deter her.

We can all do something to help. Let’s follow in Charlan’s footsteps and lend a helping hand. After all, we might be the one in need of assistance, someday.

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