By Darren Lum
When I see a pickup truck deliberately run up and down Highland Street, spewing black diesel fumes in the air, I shake my head in disbelief. What kind of attention-seeking person does this?
While some, like this driver, choose to seek the attention of others with aggressive and disruptive behaviour, there are others doing work with little to no recognition for the extra efforts that make our community and communities across the province and this country function. These are the unsung heroes, who put themselves out there to make the world a better place.
It’s something I have thought about in light of last week’s Volunteer Week, or the political candidates information session where 55 people attended, interested in making a difference for all four of the respective municipalities. Who knows? Some of them could be potentially at the start of a political legacy, worthy of note. Love, hate or show indifference to politicians, it’s still important to acknowledge their service for a position that is integral to decisions related to our municipalities. Municipal politics is a thankless job – no post-political career board appointments to serve on a large multi-million dollar earning company following their time.
It’s well-known our community depends on volunteers to help bridge the gaps that exist for low income earners when government subsidies and programming doesn’t meet needs. Volunteers are there delivering the patients to cancer treatments, the meals to retirees, comfort to those in need, or are making connections for those that depend on social interaction. They are there helping with ensuring our public spaces and beautiful settings are a place for the public to embrace such as the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, who are adding eight benches (four stone and four log creations) thanks to the donation of the Rotary Club of Haliburton. Service above self is the Rotary clubs’ motto. It’s fitting for the attitude adopted by many in this community. Just like another volunteer organization, the Haliburton and District Lions Club whose motto is Kindness Matters. The sentiment behind both are at the backbone of what drives volunteers, and it makes this community worth being proud of … even with the odd person that doesn’t contribute to making this place better.
We’re all familiar with supply shortages during this ongoing pandemic. Speak to enough people, representing a variety of industries and it’s clear there are also labour shortages, which is correlated to not just being unable to fulfill positions with willing and capable employees, but also to the continuing challenges for housing and the pandemic.
Scanning the headlines online over the weekend, there were many days of recognition on May 1. There was the National Physicians’ Day, National Principal’s Day and the International Workers’ Day. These days are a reminder to recognize specific people in the workforce, but I believe it also serves as a reminder to remember everyone that is struggling to meet demands in areas such as education, the trades, hospitality and tourism, or in health care.
There is concern to fill summer positions. There are healthcare professionals working more. There are teachers on the sidelines and at the courts, coaching. Owners are stepping in where staff members would have worked. There are construction companies booked for the next two years. It feels like everyone is working harder.
It’s been said before, but it needs to be repeated:
Let’s practice some patience and understanding for the overworked and over-stressed. We’ve all lost something during this pandemic. Let’s not make it worse for others, who could be going through something more than what we can imagine, simply evaluating what they are doing for us, whether it’s in a retail store or in the hospital or long-term care facility.