Volunteerism is a value to be cherished.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, thoughts turn to the countless volunteers here and elsewhere. In every city, county and state and in the far reaches of America, you will find volunteers, mainly involved in helping people, especially those who are hungry or homeless or need medical attention, clothing, employment, transportation — the list is nearly endless.

What would our churches and schools be if it were not for volunteers who perform many important tasks, many in leadership roles? Smaller communities have volunteer fire departments, who are so important in providing public safety. City governments have volunteers serving in many capacities. Hospitals have volunteer organizations that help support their foundations, serve as trustees, are auxiliary members, operate gift shops and are involved in many other activities, helping raise money to expand the health care institutions’ care for the less fortunate.

There are also many civic clubs that exist chiefly to help the community through their fundraising efforts and educational programs — all volunteer members. What would the Franklin County area be without the United Way, composed mainly of volunteers? The agencies it supports, also mostly staffed by volunteers, depend on the United Way for crucial funding. The military veterans organizations also are among the top volunteers in communities.

We have many committees, boards and commissions that depend on volunteers to fulfill their missions. Industrial development boards with volunteer members work to better the communities they serve. We would hate to not have active chambers of commerce that work to promote and improve their towns and cities. There would be no Washington Town & Country Fair if it didn’t have volunteers, many of whom have served at the fair for years, to perform numerous tasks.

Volunteers often are the first to support fund drives for worthwhile projects. In times of catastrophe, volunteers respond to help neighbors and strangers.

Volunteers set an excellent example for younger people, many of whom follow their parents and other volunteer leaders in helping others when they become adults.

We have much to be thankful for in our lives. There are so many good people in our communities who are kind, thoughtful and caring and who volunteer their services to help others. Many never receive the recognition they deserve. Most don’t expect accolades — even the career volunteers. We all owe them our gratitude.