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Rey: Many ways to step up and serve

This week has involved a lot of soul-searching for me. As I have shared in previous columns, it is my firm belief that it is our obligation to help those who are following in our footsteps.

There is no limit to the ways we can contribute to a stronger community. There are many ways to serve – coaching a youth sports team, volunteering for the PTA, participating in a committee for an organization or simply lending a hand to a friend or neighbor in need.

Leo C. Rosen said, “I think the purpose in life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, after all, to matter: To count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”

We can look around our community and identify a local project that benefits others. There are tremendous benefits in giving back, getting involved and living with a passion for a specific purpose. It takes the focus off ourselves and puts it on to the needs of others. As we reflect on those areas of need, we are able to give energy and time to help reach the potential in helping fellow citizens.

Our community leaders are friendly and personable, engaging others to join in their passion for a mission to contribute positively to the community. These leaders – police chief, fire chief, school principal, teachers, medical professionals and others – come into our lives with talent, enthusiasm, and energy to make a difference. It is good to see them settle into their work.

Today our community is facing many challenges and in turn there are many needs for service. I believe a positive future lies within reach. We all have the opportunity to apply our passion to activities with other people and contribute in a positive way, fulfilling needs in the community.

Helen Keller said, “The world is not moved only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”

This week we have an opportunity to honor some who have contributed very positively to our community. The Boy Scouts of America local council is hosting the Tribute to Heroes on Thursday at the Kishwuakee College Jenkins Conference Center. The honorees have served in various ways to make our community better. Additionally, WNIJ-FM recently solicited nominations for their Spirit of Caring Award. The DeKalb Chamber of Commerce is preparing its presentation of the Athena Award, recognizing women of distinction.

DeKalb is a great community because so many of us step up and serve one another as part of our daily lives. Our service, kindness, compassion and caring for fellow citizens is recognized when we see the good we put into the world.

I challenge each of us to search our passions and seek ways to give back to the good of the community. This will help build a stronger community for us to work, play and raise our families.

I want to thank those who have been readers over the past months. I look forward to making contributions to this community in meaningful ways. After years of working in the private sector and serving various organizations, I understand the challenges facing our community. I appreciate the heart and dedication in DeKalb, and I look forward to personally continuing to contribute.

Having lived my entire adult life in DeKalb, I am working to put my name on the ballot for mayor. Thus, this will be my last column as a guest writer. I am committed to secure the required signatures to place my name on the April 9 ballot for mayor in the city of DeKalb. I will use other means to get my platform known.

Thanks for your readership.

• John Rey lives in DeKalb and is retired from DeKalb Ag/Monsanto. He also has been employed with AXA Financial and Family Service Agency. He continues as an active community volunteer in several organizations. You may contact him at

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