††† Ask the staff of any nonprofit organization how important volunteers are to their operation, and you may get a speechless expression in response. Most such organization simply could not function without them.

††† And so it is too with a variety of community events that tend to be the glue that binds residents together, not only during Christmas but also throughout the year. But that fact seems to be more evident during the holidays, when charitable groups, food banks and toy depots are at their busiest.

††† Christmas parades are popular events, and the annual lighted parade in Brownwood last Friday will be followed by similar parades in Bangs at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and in Zephyr at dusk on Sunday. An enthusiastic turnout of local citizens helps not only bring the holiday spirit to a community, but it also strengthens the spirit of unity in a town. Of course, visitors are always welcome to join the fun, as well. In fact, it might not be a bad idea. You canít take in too much Christmas cheer, because the season will be gone all too soon.

††† †The volunteers who spend considerable time and energy planning and preparing such holiday events deserve our appreciation. That is especially so for Brownwood residents, who can thank members of Southside Church for taking on the sponsorship chores of this important community event on short notice. Meanwhile, a series of student groups and businesses combined forces to craft new Christmas decorations that will not only serve the city for years to come, but also helped kick off a new tradition Ė Christmas Under the Stars weekend.

††† They all find time during the busiest part of the year to make these enjoyable and memorable events possible. These workers are making significant contributions to their communities, and helping their neighbors enjoy the Christmas season even more. They could be planning their own familiesí activities. Instead, they have made accommodations to their personal calendars in order to enhance the holidays for others.

††† What better present could communities of any size give to themselves? Congratulations to the smaller towns in our area who residents are working together in various ways to keep the community spirit, as well as the holiday spirit, alive.

Brownwood Bulletin