Our Communities Enjoy So Much Because of Anonymous Generosity
March 24, 2021
When I first sat down to work on this story I had in mind an individual who truly exemplified the phrase 'Community Service'. This Individual doesn't just help and promote projects, groups, individuals or organizations in the town in which they live, or even the town where they work. Instead their generous hand reaches all across Blaine County from Chinook to Harlem to Turner and to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
I started gathering comments and stories from individuals who thought this individuals generosity goes far too unnoticed. As I started gathering information, the amount of involvement in the communities of Blaine County was remarkable. When I approached this individual with the notion of doing a story it was addressed that they would like to remain in the shadows and did not seek the recognition.
Of course I was more than willing to oblige, but it got me thinking. I have talked to a number of people, as we all have, that like to do things for others silently, without fan fair. As I looked around at all the annual functions that go on in Blaine County it really hit me that most all of these couldn't happen without the 'Silent donor'.
The Montana Seed Show, Blaine County Fair, Demolition Derby, PRCA Rodeo, All-Class Reunions, FFA, Harlem Swim Team, Community Chest, Blaine County 4-H, Chinook Rod & Gun and many more are all advertised and list sponsors and such, but to make them a success takes much more. Where would the Blaine County Wildlife Banquet be without a wide variety of charitable donors, or the Chinook Golf Banquet or the Festival of Trees.
Not only the scheduled events as previously mentioned but the individual Benefits to help out with medical expenses or recover from devastating losses. Or maybe it's an Amateur Boxing Club looking to raise funds to help with expenses to travel or even just have a place to practice. Yearbook communities and senior class trips all require a helping hand to even get started.
The Friends of the Pool and Park Foundation to help refurbish and maintain a safe place for youth to spend the day in the summer. Chinook Youth Baseball, AAU Wrestling, all of these events are successful in a county with less than 7,000 people but the size of Rhode Island.
Big cities struggle daily to help themselves with basic needs, but in Blaine County there always seems to be a way to get something done. If there is a benefit to be had, put the word out, and people will show en mass to support the cause.
To be sure, let's not start taking that notion for granted, it's not by happenstance, but it happens because we are blessed with so many 'silent donors'. They may not appear on the poster for the event and they may not, probably for sure not be mentioned by name at the event, but they are there.
These individuals, or families or even businesses may give money quietly to allow the event to take place or they may just show up and miraculously have the winning bid on a third of the auction items. Our 4-H/FFA sales receipts rival fairs with far greater numbers because Blaine County is home to such wonderful community supporters. That being said, we are also very lucky to create such a fun and entertaining atmosphere that we do attract a large number of 'out of town folk' to want to come and participate.
Sure, there may be other communities that have similar shared experiences, but what creates this wonderful situation? Longtime Chinook resident and former Chinook School Superintendent Jay Eslick weighs in, "These people don't want to bring the focus on them. They are in a position to be able to help and that's just what they want to do. They want to ensure that an event or benefit is a success and the community benefits but wants their involvement to end there. The last thing they want is for their presence or contribution to distract or diminish the event or cause in any way."
Small towns are unique in their 'hominess' and this sense of comfort bonds people together, "They're the skeleton that makes up the community. They have been in the community a long time and they enjoy their community. These people love their communities, they know everybody in it and they love the people," added Eslick.
"They are the backbone of any community that enjoys so many personal gatherings and to be able to contribute and help in some way makes them feel good personally but in a very unselfish manner."
If we all just take the time to stop and think about all these functions we look forward to, have so much fun at and can't wait for the next one. If we think about who is at all of these events, bidding on items, buying all kinds of goods, we know who they are. We all live here too. It seems sometimes though when it comes to selling raffle tickets or banquet ticket or asking for a donation or auction item that all too often we tend to take these people for granted.
It seems that sometimes we become so expectant of these people to just say yes, that when they might say no, it catches people off guard, almost makes the seller mad. This is proof we know exactly who these skeletons as Jay put it are. We know their names because they're the first that come to mind. I'm just saying, let's start saying thanks, much appreciated, to anyone who helps. That would be the best recognition to present to the 'backbone' of the community.
Let's take it one step further and be appreciative of all who give of themselves to help those around us. The volunteer at the blood drive of the 4-H Club leader. Parents who load up all their kids and their friends to take them to a tournament or camp. Advisors that donate their time to youth groups. Coaches who work hundreds of hours off the clock to help their athletes. The backbone of community can grow immensely the more we support it. So thank you to all the 'silent donors out there!