The Volunteers Behind a Successful Community
January 24, 2013
By Christine Bradway

There are those who wish to help others, and in doing so change lives, including their own. Volunteering is about giving back. Those who dedicate their time, energy and skills to a community work hard to improve the quality of life for those around them and to provide a meaningful and positive place to live.

Residents who volunteer to serve on our town's boards and commissions are extremely important to the functioning of the town. They also play an important part in shaping Hagerstown's future. Whether it's passion or a personal attachment that drives a person to want to volunteer for their community, their valuable contributions to the growth and development of Hagerstown do not go unseen. 


Fred Dill, Parks and Recreation Board

The desire to give back to the community that raised them is exactly what drove Fred Dill and Ginny Ozbun to serve on Hagerstown's Parks and Recreations Board. Dill wants to make it possible for today's youth to have the same opportunities and to enjoy the same facilities that he did while growing up in Hagerstown. As the current board president, Dill explains that the board's role is to oversee and ensure that the town's parks and recreational facilities are performing at optimal levels. Along with cleaning and maintenance, the board strives to continually make improvements and confront problems before they arise. 

Dill, who has been on the board for three years, acknowledges that funding is a challenge. He explains that you must stretch every dollar to make it count and not overextend the budget. However, the rewards are what really counts. Dill, like many board members, sets goals both for themselves and for the community. Whether it's long-term or short-term, "once you see your goals and dreams met, it makes you feel good," says Dill. Just one recent example of Dill's goals for the community that will come to fruition is the restroom construction at the Optimist Soccer Field on the southeast part of town. 


Ginny Ozbun, Parks and Recreation Board

Ozbun is greatly appreciated by the town due to her years of service. She was the office secretary at the elementary for 46 years, and she continues to volunteer at her church, thrift shop, and has served as the secretary of the Parks and Recreation Board since 1982. Ozbun explains that her interest has always been focused on the children of the community. Volunteering her time allows her to help give opportunities through better amenities to those who might not receive them otherwise.

"It takes all types of people to create a community," says Ozbun. "Everyone is appreciated. If you have a desire to serve, voice your concern." She is proud to give back and enjoys serving with her fellow members. "I wouldn't be happier living anywhere else."

For Dill, his time volunteering and improving the community is about "furthering the future." He emphasizes that it's important for the board and other residents to look forward. It's about "doing things to make sure the future's bright, where kids who grew up here want to come back to live, raise a family, and give back."

The Hagerstown community truly is enhanced by the service of its volunteers, especially those serving on the Parks and Recreation Board. Becky Diercks, who was a member for 14 years, said that her greatest reward of volunteering came while serving on the park board. She served as president during the last four years of her service, and along with Dill and Ozbun, she guided the development of Miller Park and the bringing of the Dutro Pool back to a sustainable resource. She is now serving on the town council, the Planning Commission and the cemetery task force. 


Becky Diercks, Town Council

Diercks moved to Hagerstown when her husband Dan was offered a teaching position here in the fall of 1976. Becky then got involved with the community by becoming a board member of the Nettle Creek Players, then as a member of the Elementary School Renovation Feasibility Study Committee. Like Ozbun and Dill, Diercks sees her service as a way to give back to the community. "I remained a member for such a long time because I wanted to see projects that had begun under my leadership completed...and most of all I liked doing it," says Diercks.

As a councilwoman, she explains that the town council's duty is to govern the town "with the greatest care and consideration."  The community is bettered because of those who serve, and Diercks like other volunteers, knows that their service really does make a difference. "Creating a community means building innovative and constructive partnerships among the citizenry for the betterment of all, then becoming a group that shares commonality and therefore community," says Diercks.

The town council and the Parks and Recreation Board are just a couple of the groups who make decisions that impact our community. There are several others, including Hagerstown's Airport Board. Marvin Stohler has served on the airport board for nearly 30 years. His interest in aviation motivated him to commit his time to seeing that the facility is maintained and beneficial to the town. Thanks to the efforts of Marvin and his fellow board members, the space is valuable indeed. Not only does the premise have a 4,000 by 200 ft. turf runway, but it's also home to a little league baseball diamond, a horse arena, a police shooting range, and features plenty of open space for model aircraft shows and the town's annual 4th of July fireworks display.


Marvin Stohler, AIrport Board

Stohler admits that managing the airport is at times challenging, especially in today's economy, but that it is more than just a position he holds. He enjoys being a part of the board and meeting others who share his appreciation. To Stohler, creating a community is "something all of us have to do." He, along with the other board members are determined to keep the facility a place in which the town can be proud.

Hagerstown's many volunteers give a large amount of their time to enhancing the efforts of making our town a better place to live. More often than not, many of us take our community and its volunteers for granted. It's critical that we understand the importance these leaders play in our community and on our boards. We appreciate their hard work and dedication to our town.  

The Hagerstown Airport Board is currently seeking a fourth member. BZA and the Cemetery Board are also needing volunteers. If interested, you are encouraged to call the town hall at 765.489.6171.