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September 2, 2011

Jack Tomkinson

by jacktomkinson

“Generosity seems to be a basic human trait, one that holds the world together generation after generation, despite all of the awful things in the news. I’m grateful for, and I admire the people who try to make our world a place to enjoy and to be proud of. So when I volunteer I feel I am honoring the goodness in people.”

Activities:

Leading Public Projects and hands-on work of all kinds. trail work, gift wrapping, bike loading, set-up, clean-up, office work, photography, etc.

Projects:

Urban Sparks (numerous projects), Fremont Peak Park, Board Service, Rotary Bikes for Homeless

 Why I volunteer:

I believe that what we are most is what we give to others and what we leave to others. So I enjoy being generous and doing good things. Our impacts live long after us.

Inspirations:

So many people –  I am moved by all kind gestures, from the stranger who comforts a disoriented child in a crowd, to the world’s greatest non-violent peace activists – several of whom are pictured on my refrigerator.

His Story:

My parents always spoke highly of people who were kind, disciplined, skilled, energetic, resourceful and generous, and they strove to be these ways. So these became my values, and I find that weaving them together is fun and satisfying. I have always volunteered here and there. I ran the school movie projector in grade school,  won a bicycle at age 13 raising money for a local charity, worked at Camp Norwester during college, and then led weekly summer bike rides for Cascade Bike Club with Scott Kralik for 10 years. The thank-yous for volunteer work are astounding. People are often inspired and changed by generosity. They can’t wait to do something nice for someone else so they can return the gift.

Generosity seems to be a basic human trait, one that holds the world together generation after generation, despite all of the awful things in the news. I’m grateful for, and I admire the people who try to make our world a place to enjoy and to be proud of. So when I volunteer, I feel I am honoring the goodness in people. Sometimes the rewards are instant: a smile, a thank you, or a completed task. Sometimes the reward is just a feeling of adding a stone to a mountain of good that started long before me and that will continue long after me. But adding that stone is still an honor, and it is important to the continuity of a generous effort.

Having enjoyed many parks that were given by people in earlier generations and having seen many beautiful places developed for private gain, one day I was moved to make a difference. I was enjoying the view from a house that was for sale, one that would be torn down and replaced with a mega-house. I thought, “This view ought to be public; it would serve so many more people.” Since my friends, Lorena, Kathy and Bob had talked about their work in creating parks, I had an inkling that it was possible. So I began making phone calls. You can read the rest of the story.

I’m very proud that Fremont Peak Park was paid for and donated by people who are alive today and using their life’s present energy to create this park. This one is not being left in a will by someone who has no further need for money, which while very good, is a different sacrifice than giving substantially early in life.

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