Manchin

Gov. Joe Manchin joined local leaders last month to offically announce a significant Wi-Fi project that is expected to benefit 12,000 Charleston residents and about 200 businesses.

By JOE MANCHIN

CHARLESTON -- Mahatma Gandhi said," The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

Recently, I recognized 13 individuals and organizations for their contributions to the Mountain State through their service to others.

The annual Governor's Service Awards are a small way for us to acknowledge the selfless efforts and outstanding volunteer service of individuals, families, organizations and businesses in West Virginia.

The 13 who received the Governor's Service Awards have not only given back, they've also gone beyond what might be expected and have proven that their hard work and dedication makes their communities and this state a better place to live.

Both my wife Gayle and I often speak about the Five Promises that we should keep to every child. At the heart of those promises is the idea that children should have an opportunity to give something back to their communities. We are fortunate to grow up in or live in a state that still has strong community and family ties and an abundance of people who truly look out for others. West Virginia maintains a nurturing quality that has been lost in too many communities in the last generation. It is our duty and responsibility to give something back in return.

Whether you are born here or have become a West Virginian, it's not hard to find caring neighbors and friends who work not for money or for recognition but for the rewards they receive from helping others. Volunteerism is contagious and the rewards are far greater than a paycheck.

And while it is amazing what one person can accomplish in the service to others, imagine the possibilities when an entire community works together to solve a problem, or to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood.

As an example, I was delighted recently to join volunteers from Charleston's East End Main Street group to announce a free wireless Internet access program for that section of our capital city. The Main Street volunteers have come together for numerous successful projects, and this latest one is just another example of what happens when the Mountaineer volunteer spirit catches on.

The Governor's Service Awards are administered by the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service to honor outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses solving community problems through volunteer service. A panel of volunteer judges, including past awardees, choose the recipients on the basis of achievement, community needs, continuing involvement, innovation and impact of service.

I encourage you to find out more about our award winners and to learn how you can contribute in your community and your state. Visit www.volunteerwv.org for more information.

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