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Madison Should Be Proud Of Its Exceptional Willingness To Help Others In Need

Simply put, Madison Serves

Madison has many wonderful and obvious attributes—beautiful beaches, a vibrant downtown, and a distinguished school system, to name a few.  The attribute for which the town should perhaps be most proud, however, is the spirit of volunteerism and dedication to community service exemplified by its residents.  Simply put, Madison serves.

Having lived in multiple states and several Connecticut towns, I feel comfortable stating that Madison exhibits an exceptional willingness for helping others in need and making the town itself a better place to live.  Rightly or wrongly viewed as an affluent community where its residents want not, Madison does not take anything for granted, never hesitating to provide support for others in the community or elsewhere.  Just prior to writing this piece, I encountered the appropriately named Madison Cares organization downtown raising money for its Habitat for Humanity efforts by helping families assemble and decorate garden benches.  I am often in awe of the goodwill I witness in this town. 

The purpose of this column is to promote volunteerism and community service in Madison by informing readers of specific ways in which they can begin, or continue, service to our community.  I strongly encourage those who are able, to dedicate time, not just money, to what has often been referred to as a cause greater than oneself.  We are all busy in our lives, and it is easy to get caught up in our own issues, but setting aside even one hour in a week can go a long way.  Nobody expects any one individual to be able to rid the world of its many injustices, but when everyone chips in a little, the result can be something amazing.

The key, in my opinion, is to find a cause or organization to which you feel personally connected, and to utilize any particular skills or knowledge you possess for its benefit.  For me, being a veteran, it was easy to become involved with the Madison VFW as a means of providing assistance to other veterans.  I have also been blessed with a beautiful young daughter who I adore, so I became involved with an organization named Lawyers for Children America that enables me to represent abused and neglected children who do not have that person in their lives who adores, or otherwise protects, them.

There is no shortage in Madison of ways in which to contribute.  Subject to one’s interests and attributes, there is something for everyone.  Concerned about the preservation of our natural resources?  Try the Madison Land Conservation Trust.  New to town? Madison Newcomers is a great way to meet people while at the same time serve the community.  Interested in our town government?  Serve on one of our many town boards and commissions.  Future columns will highlight organizations, people and events as a means of public outreach to enable those who want to serve, to serve.

Ryan Suerth is a Madison resident, attorney and Iraq War veteran, and will be donating 100% of the compensation he receives for writing this column to service organizations in Madison.  If there is a service organization, person or event you would like the writer to know about, you can contact him at suerth6@yahoo.com

Daria Novak May 09, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Ryan, great idea for a column. We have a lot of talent in Madison and many groups that need our help. Two that I work with that need help are: 1) No Vet Left Behind: A group that helps homeless and disabled vets become well and re-enter society. We are raising money for a house for CT women vets who are homeless. There is a house being made available, but we have to fix it up. The group was founded by Mary Porter of Derby, CT. It will be 5 years old next year and has received numerous awards for the work we do in CT. The email is novetleftbehind@hotmail.com 2) Operation Music Aid: This is a Madison-based group that provides musical instruments to our wounded military in hospitals in the US, Iraq and Afghanistan. They also have received numerous awards and sent thousands of instruments to our military vets. George Hauer and Ken Nicely are the founders. George's store, Madison Music in Orchard Park, has a wall of photos of our vets receiving instruments from Operation Music Aid. People can offer to help by contacting George at Madison Music at 203-318-85007. 3) Constitution Brigade: This is a group I founded to educate people about the US Constitution. We go into schools and other groups and talk about the document and the great American experiment. We need volunteers to facilitate discussions, help raising money to purchase materials, etc. Anyone interested in helping can contact me at daria.novak@erudyne.com or call me at 203-318-8200.
Jen T May 09, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Ryan, I am glad to see an encouragement to volunteer, get involved and get to know your community. It is amazing who you will meet and how much that an 18 year old can in common with a 40 year old, or 80 year old. Taking action without financial reimbursment is very rewarding. Please, get involved and join your community by giving your time and talents to something that matters to you.

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