CWW Vol- Jim Gines 20220122 0847 (LowRes).jpg

jim gines

WESTWOOD heritage society

"Home for the Holidays"
Westwood Veterans Council

Editor's note:  This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

I have been volunteering with the Westwood Heritage Society since the early 1990s when they were planning the borough's Centennial Celebration. Initially, I just went to one of the meetings when they were calling for volunteers.  They were in the process of organizing for the Centennial that would be held in 1994, and I just got sucked in.  Whatever needed to be done, whatever your strength was where you wound up going, because there were so many different things that took place at that time.

It's one of those things. The Centennial is a major milestone in any town. So you had a choice. You could either stand back and let everybody else do the work, and then later complain about how bad you thought that it was or you could get involved and become part of the solution.  Why do you do it?  Because being involved makes it a better place for you and your family.

What would I say to people that are interested in volunteering but are afraid to take that initial step?  There's no reason to be afraid.  Whatever your interests are, you can find something in town that you can get involved with-- something that fits with your interests.  A lot of people think: "Yes but, I don't have a lot of time, or I don't know what is involved", or whatever. And we always say,  "Look – one day a week, one day a month, one day every six months, it is OK – any little bit you can give is useful."  As far as not knowing anything.  The volunteers that you will be working with once were in the same position as you when they started, so they understand.  And, little by little, you will pick up more knowledge about the organization and then you will become one of the veterans.

Just get involved!