MILO, Maine — Volunteers help a community function and grow, and for the town of Milo, one of Maine’s poorer communities, they are vital.
In appreciation of the service provided by about 85 volunteers, municipal officials recognized them Monday at a public dinner.
“They’re really irreplaceable. These people really keep the town running,” Town Manager Jeff Gahagan said Tuesday.
While more affluent communities can afford to offer numerous programs for their populations, it is through volunteer efforts that Milo’s residents are able to have some of the same things, town officials say.
For example, Gahagan said, the recreation committee raises funds and operates a refreshment shack to help support youth programs. In addition, volunteers spend considerable time serving on the budget committee, on other town boards, on the Fire Department and at local events, he said.
One of those volunteers, Jerry Cole, 64, wears many hats, including that of the town’s safety consultant and computer expert, all without compensation. He also serves on the cemetery committee, planning board and with the recreation department. He previously served 22 years on the Board of Selectmen.
The U.S. Air Force retiree said he is happy to donate his time.
“My major objective has always been to have a top-notch town,” Cole said Tuesday.
Cole, who figures he volunteers at least 10 hours a week, said the town is fortunate to have as many volunteers as it does.
“When I see things accomplished that I know are definitely good for the town, then I’m very happy about it,” he said.