What is a Volunteer?

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By John M. Holman, Contributing Writer
Lane Memorial Library, Hampton, NH

Atlantic News, Friday, May 10, 2001

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

HAMPTON — Webster 's New World Dictionary defines "volunteer" as" ...one who offers to enter into any service, of his own free will."

In other words, one who can do a service in order to help someone else. It gives one a good feeling of accomplishment.

About 8 years ago, I had an opportunity to play piano at a nursing home in Dover, through one of my employees, who worked there as a CNA. I said I would try it once, but no promises. I tried it, liked it and stayed for over five years. The Activity Director always had a hot cup of coffee waiting for me upon my arrival. Thanks Doris and Carol!

A few years ago, I thought I would try the Exeter Healthcare facility. I actually enjoyed that "gig", too, and the coffee was always ready for me there, also.

We do sort of a sing-a-long which the residents seem to enjoy, playing all the old songs from WWI up through the 1920s, 30s and 40s, throwing in some martial and military music, and always ending with "God Bless America."

Last year, I started playing Webster At Rye, liked it and have been there ever since. Kerry and Nyla, the recreation directors at each facility are really great and they know how to make good coffee, too. I started free-lance writing back in the US Army, and wrote various articles for a local newspaper from my station in Germany during the Army of Occupation during the early 1950s. When I was appointed the Curator for the Tuck Memorial Museum in Hampton, it seemed just natural to write various articles about Hampton history, and having them published in local newspapers. Now I have a column in the Atlantic News entitled "Historic Happenings", thanks to publishers Howie & Ginny McGee.

I finally got all the articles about Hampton history that I had written together in a binder and presented it to Bill Teschek, assistant director of the Lane Memorial Library. Some time passed and one day I was in the library researching some additional material, and Mr. Teschek approached me and inquired if I would like to become a volunteer at the library and to put my articles on the Library's Web site.

After these were all entered on their Web site, Mr. Teschek inquired if I would like to stay on and put other Hampton history articles on their Web site. And so a relationship began which has proved very rewarding in the outcome of having these history articles all together in one place for adults as well as students to use.

From the "History of the Hampton Fire Department", through "The History of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway Company", to all the Old Home Day Booklets, the 1938 Tercentenary Booklet, "The Hampton Beach Casino", Joseph Dow's "History of Hampton, N.H. 1638-1892"; Peter E. Randall's "Hampton: A Century of Town & Beach 1888-1988; and many other histories and articles pertaining to Hampton,but too numerous to mention here. One can find them all at the Lane Memorial Library's web site located at www.hampton.lib.nh.us

Yes, volunteering is very rewarding and lots of fun. You should try it sometime.

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