Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2017 >Daily Dispatch #243

September 4, 2017: The Unseen Volunteer

I don’t have the volunteer numbers on hand – I’d have to get them from Michelle, the recycling volunteer coordinator. But there has been a veritable sea of volunteers doing recycling sorting and collection. The most amazing thing of all is that nearly every shift has been full. And when it appeared as though we’d be sort handed, the volunteers on the other shifts stepped in and gave a most needed assist.

I’d often ask those who had already done a few cart runs if they’d go out and do another – and they’d usually head back out again, going back to the path that had more recyclables than they could collect. Or they’d head for a new path if the pickings on the old had been slim.

It’s easy to think the worst of humanity if you work in the sorting area and have a table full of recyclables and garbage in front of you. But this high degree of willingness on the part of all the volunteers speaks well of the human race. Some discard, but many pick up. And the numbers are growing. Education, which primarily comes in the form of example, is key.

My sense all along was that volunteers and workers were getting the bulk of the recyclables – no mean feat when you figure that collection and the sorting is being done by hand.

I am now speaking with a certain bias. But a hats-off goes to Pete. This guy, my husband, has been involved in the local recycling effort for a decade. He’s on the VCRS board and assists with fundraising functions. This is impressive given that he has a full-time job teaching communication classes at nearby Mat-Su College. And our off-the-grid place takes up his remaining time.

In the past few weeks, Pete’s been working in the trenches. He’s been pulling a cart and collecting recyclables every day. And he’s been talking with vendors and fairgoers about the importance of recycling. Pete’s naturally personable, so this comes easily to him.

Yesterday afternoon, Pete came back to the sorting area with our camera in hand. There was a bounce to his step and a smile on his face. I stopped what I was doing in order to look at the photos he’d taken. He’d been telling me that we needed to get some pictures of the workers out on the grounds. I’d repeatedly said that I’d do this if I had the time to get out on the grounds. Pete took matters into his own hands when he saw that I’d be too busy to act on his observation.

Pete’s photos were of volunteers doing their job. In addition, he took a photo of a fairgoer putting a container into the wrong barrel, and another of an fairgoer putting a container into the correct barrel. And he took yet another photo of Molly, the VCRS director, removing a can from the wrong barrel.

Pete’s also repeatedly brought me dinner and given me a hand with my other fair activity, which is tending to our goats. Thoughtful is the word – last night when I was sorting – he went over to the radio and changed the station. He knew that I’d find the classical music station preferable to the heavy metal station.

May the sun shine brightly on all the Alaska State Fair volunteers and Pete.

Next: 244. 9/4/17: Recycling Sorting: Being Mindful

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles