In the past few months, our community endured the loss of several important people who are timeless role models of community service.
The recent passings of Skip Amass, Dave Roush, and Sam Pierce are a reminder of how important a culture of service is for keeping a community vibrant and progressive. Civic pride, and continual effort to reinforce that pride through selfless service, is essential for creating and keeping a strong, healthy community. The details of the astonishing record of these men’s service to the community should be well known, and summaries can be found online for Amass, Roush and Pierce.
Like Amass, Roush had a similarly distinguished record of service to the community through elected office and volunteer organizations. He also was a longstanding active member of Rotary, an elected official, and served on many boards and commissions. Sam Pierce was an active member of the Lions club, a successful entrepreneur in the healthcare industry, as well as a well-regarded local elected official.
People like these gentlemen are often referred to as “pillars of the community” and I can’t think of a more apt metaphor.
A pillar is a structural support; it holds up a building, a bridge, a statue. It can be plain and sturdy, like the steel columns in my basement holding up the foundation of our house; it can be solitary, austere, and grand, like the Washington Monument; or they can be ornate and detailed, like the Corinthian columns found at the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress.
These men supported our community for decades, humble and quiet, through their professional work, charitable donations, and unceasing efforts on behalf of a wide array of community organizations.
Throughout their lives, many similar themes are apparent.
Dave and Skip both served in the military. Skip and Sam both worked in healthcare related fields. All three served as elected officials and volunteers on many boards and commissions. Dave and Skip were active in Rotary, Sam in the Lions Club. All three were businessman of notable success, building and managing three different, very important commercial enterprises providing essential goods and services to the wider community. All three used their personal success to lead efforts to reinvest in the community through myriad charitable efforts supporting numerous non-profits, educational initiatives, and human service agencies.
All three are survived by family and friends, and much wider circles of professional and social acquaintances who remember them as loving spouses and fathers, men of integrity, whose word could be trusted, men who had the interests of the community at heart, who placed their neighbors’ interests before their own self-interest, and who were generally all-around nice guys.
How do we impart these lessons to younger generations?
Certainly for those who knew them, their example is obvious, but what of young people who didn’t know them, or didn’t know much about their decades, over two centuries between them, of selfless service? Their legacies set a very high standard we should all strive to live up to.
Robert Wack writes from Westminster. He can be reached at Robert.email@example.com.