There's something unique about the feeling we get when we give to others, regardless of whether we're giving time, money, or simply advice. Especially in an industry that is often misunderstood, forestry businesses can demonstrate their desire to contribute to their community rather than simply gain from it. Opportunities to commit ourselves to a beneficial cause are all around—maybe even right down your street. Our communities provide us with our livelihood, and it is our responsibility to give back. Many loggers are already doing so:
Mike Pennington, President of Arkansas Timber Producers Association, and Shannon Jarvis, Jarvis Timber in Potosi, Missouri, have been very active in Log A Load For Kids, a nationwide organization benefiting hospitals associated with Children's Miracle Network. Their mission is to raise funds for treatment, education, and research of children's health. Pennington led the Drew County Log A Load to successfully hold a drawing for a vehicle, which has become an annual event. Jarvis, Chairman of Missouri Logging Council, launched the Missouri Log A Load For Kids in 2009, and has organized numerous fundraising events and expanded participation of loggers. His efforts resulted in being named the 2011 Log A Load Volunteer Champion.
The Wilson Brothers, Wilson Brothers Lumber Company and Tri-W Logging Co. Inc., began their own tradition of an annual community-wide barbeque where they serve over 1,800 pounds of meat and homemade desserts, feeding around 750+ people in their Arkansas town.
Logger Steve Southerland of Panama City, Florida was elected to the House in 2010, taking an attitude of "servant leadership." Southerland's goal was to create certainty for the American logger — to help them bring equity and protection for the future of their business. There are many opportunities to serve on councils and committees dedicated to such causes.
These are just a handful of examples; here are a few motivations for getting involved:
- Special Causes/Purposes — Have a certain interest or hobby? There are many ways to contribute, such as sponsoring a local teen pursuing a common passion.
- Reputation — While your motivation to give to your community should be genuine, good rapport is an excellent side-effect of your efforts. Your donation of time or resources to the betterment of others will show that loggers are dedicated to improving society in addition to practicing safe, environmentally-friendly forestry.
- Education and Awareness — Young loggers are absolutely necessary to the future of logging, but it isn't something that many young people are pursuing, especially if they don't have family in the industry. By involving your business, you have the opportunity to educate others about the purpose of logging, increase interest, and recruit talent to the woods.
- Business Benefits — Customers are more likely to be supportive of a business that makes service a priority. Also, many donations are tax-deductible.
- Personal Benefits — Research correlates volunteering with health benefits, such as a longer life and greater functional abilities. There's truly a sense of satisfaction that results from giving back or getting involved in your community.
Wherever they are, loggers are for their communities — and at John Deere, We're For Loggers.