Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2006

Atwell provides selfless example for community

July 13, 2006

During a discussion at last week's De Soto City Council meeting concerning the city's recycling dumpster at Morse's Market, Councilman Ted Morse said the person who made the bin work was Max Atwell. Atwell, he said, cleans up the overflow mess and carts off the items people persist on leaving that are classified as hazardous waste or are otherwise unsuitable for the bin.

Much good and bad in the community is embodied in that comment. As Morse acknowledged, it's human nature that some people will carelessly or willfully take advantage of the unattended bin to leave unsuitable items. On the other hand, De Soto is fortunate to have individuals like Atwell who share enough devotion to the community and their goodwill to its residents to cleanup their messes.

It is not Atwell's sole service to the community. His most public role was that as a past member of the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education (he's still ready to argue the merits of year-around school if asked). But as with the recycling bin, which Atwell attends because of his interest in the Rotary Club's newspaper recycling bin that sits next to it, most of Atwell's volunteerism is of the low-profile but vital grunt work. Atwell is a regular Catch-A-Ride program volunteer, once recognized for his contribution to that Johnson County program that helps keep seniors in their homes by providing them with rides to doctor's appointments and other vital destinations.

Atwell is also serving another year as chairman of the De Soto Days Festival Committee. He was first recruited -- he might say roped -- into that position five years ago from making himself indispensable as a volunteer on the committee. Since then, he has served as chairman or co-chairman every year, during which he remained front and center among the small group of volunteers who yearly work to make that community event a success.

No community service should be dismissed, but we've known those whose volunteerism was in no small part motivated by publicity. Other than his work with De Soto Days, which puts him in the public eye, we only know of Atwell's activities because others tell us of them. Anyone acquainted with Atwell knows him to be a strong advocate of causes but shy of self promotion.

So in giving Atwell well-deserved thanks, we encourage others in the community to follow his example. Or better yet, follow his example by volunteering with the De Soto Days Festival, Catch-A-Ride or any other worthy programs.

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