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Volunteers make the difference

With the Fourth of July festivities behind us and Summerfest around the corner, followed quickly by the Polk County Fair and the Great American Eclipse celebrations and parties, we want to take a moment to thank the volunteers that make it all happen.

The amount of volunteer manpower that goes into our local festivals is enormous. People begin planning for the next year’s event almost a year in advance.

It takes a committee meeting monthly to organize and pull off Western Days and hundreds of volunteers, not to mention the group efforts from law enforcement around the county.

People are needed to collect money for the fireworks shows in Independence, to direct traffic and people, to organize the Monmouth-Independence Rotary Grand Parade, to clean up after the parade and festivities, to run the Mini-Marathon.

Participation is a huge part of the picture. Without people entering the parade or other events, it wouldn’t be spectacular. The time and energy that goes into each float is big. Money for entry fees benefit our communities.

People who line the streets to watch the parade and attend other events throughout the summer also help make the magic happen.

These events are not organized or paid for by the cities, but by commissions, donations and volunteers.

We are thankful to members of the Polk County County Emergency Response Team, who annually give their time to run a first-aid tent at Western Days, as well as provide security for all of the county’s events.

We are thankful for those who put in the seemingly endless hours of planning and organizing to make the Fourth of July so special in Polk County.

We’re grateful for Beth Jones bringing back the barbecue competition in Dallas, and the Dallas Fire & EMS volunteer firefighters for keeping a fireworks show in Dallas.

We urge others to get involved. If you love the wonderful events that happen throughout the year, don’t assume others will pick up the slack. Get involved and help keep these traditions alive.

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