One of the things that I appreciate most about Allegany County is the sense of community. Some people may be satisfied to be independent and alone. However, life can be much richer and more fulfilling when we develop numerous meaningful relationships with family, friends and neighbors. Lots of people in Allegany County apparently agree with that perspective because they volunteer time and resources to many different programs and causes. These volunteers make life so much better. What would life in our communities be like without 4-H programs, without Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, without our churches, without Meals on Wheels, without American Legion and VFW Posts, without Little League, etc. This list could go on and on.
I want to give special recognition to just several volunteer groups that bless and enrich our community through their efforts. The Office For the Aging (“OFA”) is a county agency that is supported by taxpayer dollars. However, its outreach is multiplied many times over by the efforts of several hundred dedicated and selfless volunteers. They deliver “Meals on Wheels,” make daily telephone calls to seniors who can’t get out, perform odd jobs, prepare tax returns, and much more. The Allegany Senior Foundation is a purely volunteer group that works with OFA to raise money and assist in meeting the needs of senior citizens. On Saturday night, May 21st, it held the sixth annual “Swinging to the Oldies” Senior Gala at the Alfred State College Wellsville Campus. Several hundred people gathered for good food, good music, dancing, a basket auction and a chance to see friends and neighbors. In the process we raised thousands of dollars for the Meals on Wheels program.
Another wonderful group (and cause) is Allegany County Cancer Services. Our Public Health Director, Lori Ballengee, started this group 10 years ago. It raises money to help pay expenses incurred by those who have been diagnosed with cancer. In its first decade it has helped over 440 individuals with travel expenses, prosthetics, co-pays, and various other expenses that insurance doesn’t cover. Volunteers have raised more than $190,000. That’s an example of what it means to be a good neighbor.