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Volunteerism, passed down, is indeed a special legacy

Volunteerism, passed down, is indeed a special legacy

 Addy Beaudoin and her father, John, were awarded the 2018 Golden Broom Award at last  month's Downtown Lee's Summit Main Street annual banquet. The award recognized their volunteer service to the community, specifically a clean-up event organized prior to the Big Bash celebration which drew visitors from across the nation.

Addy Beaudoin and her father, John, were awarded the 2018 Golden Broom Award at last  month's Downtown Lee's Summit Main Street annual banquet. The award recognized their volunteer service to the community, specifically a clean-up event organized prior to the Big Bash celebration which drew visitors from across the nation.

My father could tell early on I probably needed a lesson or two in humility.

We didn't grow up with a lot, for sure. Multi-family housing and wearing the same shirts over multiple school years was the norm in our household of six.

Despite what we didn't have, my dad felt constantly compelled to give back, give more and give his time.

And often times, that included dragging the third born along for a lesson in selflessness.


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Whether it was the Seton Center, a soup kitchen or in Juarez, Mexico, from time to time dad would ask me to put in a little sweat for a greater cause. And God did I need that.

Volunteerism is at the core of what we accomplish as a community here in Lee's Summit.

It shows itself in daily life at our churches, in our schools, our nonprofits, at Rotary, Lions and other service organizations, in our downtown, our neighborhoods and in the arts.

Nothing happens here — anywhere — without the capital of people and the gift of time.

Showing my daughter Addy how important this lesson will be in life has truly been a joy. Something as simple as picking up a piece of trash so our community can look better. Something as easy as a few hours given to raise money for an animal shelter or a local food pantry.

A lesson you always wonder if your kids are truly latching on to. And if so, for how long? And at what kind of depth and understanding?

I didn't get that, as a 9-year-old in an unfamiliar place in an area of extreme need in Kansas City, that the acts and time given by my father meant all that much. We could have been back home, playing baseball in the back yard. Surely, I was missing something with my friends while I was gone.

You don't fully comprehend those moments in time, at least I didn't, until later in life. And as you do, you begin to see the wonder of volunteerism all around you

As my father rounds the corner of 82 years of life, I look upon those memories with a deeper and fuller understanding as to what they meant and how, if I could ever achieve it, I might pass that on to my daughter

Giving time to clean up our streets seemed to make sense to Addy, so more than a year ago, we applied to “Adopt a Street” in Lee’s Summit. As fate would have it, the street right in front of our downtown home was open for adoption. The sign went up and we started our quarterly clean up of our stretch of Second from Jefferson to Grand

When the weather cooperates — or when downtown has a big event coming up that will showcase the reason it is the heart of our city — many volunteers often gather to pick up trash and keep our central business district attractive and welcoming to both citizens and visitors.

Addy has taken that task to heart. And that absolutely makes my heart smile.

Unbeknownst to us, when Addy was invited to the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street Annual Dinner recently, we were surprised to find out she was being awarded the Golden Broom Award for her volunteerism in downtown Lee’s Summit.

It was an infinitely proud moment for this dad.

And something I know that she will take pride in, take seriously and take to heart for many years to come.

Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, it's employees or any other guest contributors.

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