"Community exists when a city pays attention to all its citizens and treats them as if they were a treasure."
I read this comment a few weeks ago in a Scottsdale newspaper. The Rev. Edward Hughes was lamenting that in our crowded, fast-paced cities these "treasures" were becoming more and more isolated and driven by special interest groups. Forty years of living in an ever-expanding Phoenix and visits over the last 12 years since our escape has led my wife and me to believe the good reverend is correct.
But not in Payson - at least not yet. We may not be a community Beaver Cleaver would recognize, and we're beyond a place "where-everybody-knows everybody." But we are fortunate to be part of a caring community.
For proof, note the very large number of community service groups - volunteers - that pitch in in various ways to serve people in need; witness the recent outpouring of donations for the young athlete who needed medical help; read the "Good Guy" nominations in the Roundup - and the occasional letter to the editor from tourists who were moved to comment on our friendliness and helpfulness.
Granted, there are examples of these types of concern in many communities, but, in my opinion, this town is especially blessed.
Please re-read the opening paragraph. WE, you and me, are the community. It's WE who need to pay attention and to treasure. We're doing a good job for the most part - but we need more WE's. The Payson Lions and Lionesses, for example, expend their efforts in helping provide glasses and hearing aids for people; we help Arizona Lions provide a summer camping experience for mentally and physically challenged people of all ages; we obtain leader dogs for those who need the independence those animals provide.
Kiwanians, Optimists, Shriners and many, many other such organizations direct their help toward other important needs. Volunteers are invaluable to the hospital, Habitat for Humanity, the Hospice, the Time Out Shelter, the food bank and so forth.
But as stated, all these groups need more WE's! Our town is growing, and the Lions, for example, have already since mid-May spent more money for sight and hearing help than we did for all 1998!
As we grow older and less frisky, we need new blood, brains and energy to help us plan and execute fund-raisers so we can continue our work. Any of our other service organizations will say the same thing.
So, all you new Paysonites, now that you're part of our town, join the WE's. And all you former Payson Lions, Lionesses, Kiwanians, Shriners, etc. (please don't be offended to be labeled an "etc."), re-enlist and bring a friend.
Paying attention and looking after the treasure "takes a village." The chamber of commerce has a list of all service organizations and the people to contact.
Come on, join in; the WE's are waiting.