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In Service: Community awards focus upon the works

This is award season. We refer not to Oscars and Globes, but something more important: local service awards such as those coming out later this month courtesy of Hood River Chamber Commerce, and this spring, and beyond, from other groups.

Service awards are about recognition, not limelight. So many individuals give of themselves for so many reasons, it is important as a community to honor their works.

Notably, there are not one but two Benton awards in the community; the Chamber started the Don Benton Service Award in 2012 and in 2013 The Next Door Inc. instituted the Bonnie and Don Benton Philanthropist of the Year Award, in recognition of this couple’s hard work and dedication.

Similar awards throughout the year include Gorge Ecumenical Ministries and Columbia Fellowship for Peace, Columbia Gorge United Way and the Hood River County School District Volunteer of the Year.

The point is not to underline one award over another, but to call attention to what they mean in the broader perspective.

Just as important as recognizing an individual for a philanthropy award is the confirmation that the focus is not on the individual so much as upon what they contribute.

In short, the heart of the matter is the heart that goes into the award.

That can be said of any person or group singled out for attention, whether it’s an award, a round of applause at a meeting, or an article in the newspaper: The works deserve the attention, but you cannot ignore the worker. We do respect the occasional wave-of-the-hand request to remain unspotlighted.

But most people who give of their time find a way to set aside the familiar “I don’t do it for the recognition” sentiment.

After all, really, we all know that.

Community awards are a way of honoring the sensibility of service, as well as the act itself. The person involved is just part of the overall package.

Who knows whose names will be called in early 2014 and later in the year, as the case may be, in recognition of outstanding service to the community.

The acceptance of the acknowledgement is just part of the process. If you have the chance to respond to a call for nominations, and you know of someone who you feel should be recognized, take the time to do so.

Service can serve as an example and an inspiration, for others’ goodwill actions in the future.

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