Community service

FROM THE EDITORIAL DESK: A Rock Star Community Service

By VERNON ROBISON

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And there are few people I know more worthy of emulation than ours, esteemed Dr. Larry Moses. So this week, I’m going to follow his innovative technique of awarding a well-deserved gold star. I hope he doesn’t mind.

This week’s gold star goes to Logandale resident Larry Griffiths. Mr. Griffiths has been the coordinator of Moapa Valley JustServe.org for eight years now. It’s a long time in this role!

For those unfamiliar with JustServe.org, it’s an online platform that seeks to connect community service projects with local volunteers in the field. It is a national, non-denominational initiative to encourage volunteerism in communities across the country. The site is searchable by zip code or community name. Local nonprofits can post projects where they need help. Volunteers and groups can search the site for opportunities to serve. It’s a win-win!

When Mr. Griffiths first accepted this all-volunteer position as local coordinator, the initiative was brand new. No one had ever heard of it before. He jumped in with both feet to start acquainting a very service-oriented community with the new concept.

Since then, Griffiths has become almost synonymous with community service in the Moapa Valley. He organized, coordinated, promoted and even performed countless acts of service involving hundreds of volunteers and benefiting multitudes of people. There are too many examples to name them all. But here are a few.

• Griffiths has partnered with the American Red Cross to provide smoke detectors to anyone in town who needs them. He set up a phone number where residents could call and ask for smoke detectors. Then he organized local volunteers (often himself) to go out and properly install the units in people’s homes.

• Griffiths noticed a problem where some elderly, disabled or otherwise infirm residents were unable to care for their property. Sometimes things got so bad they risked being cited by county law enforcement for violating the code. So Griffiths created “Just A Little Help From My Neighbors”. This program mobilizes youth groups and service organizations to volunteer their time to help bring these neighbors’ properties up to code before government action is taken against them.

• Griffiths, along with volunteers from the Moapa Valley Revitalization Project (MVRP), resumed and expanded operation of the mobile pantry that takes place monthly in the Grant Bowler Elementary parking lot. In partnership with Three Square – Las Vegas, this distribution point has been bringing healthy, fresh food to many local kitchens for several years now.

• Griffiths also organized volunteer assistance for Dolls of Hope and the Moapa Valley Ministering Angels.

• Helped mobilize support for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

• He introduced the Billion Graves initiative to Moapa Valley. And there is much, much more that he has quietly done for this community.

Perhaps the biggest this week is the annual Moapa Valley Community Resource Fair, an event started by Griffiths himself. This year it is sponsored by Brooke’s Good Deeds. The fair will take place on Saturday, November 5 in coordination with the Pomegranate Arts Festival at the Clark County Fairgrounds.

The event brings together dozens of federal, state and local agencies; as well as non-profit organizations, service groups and churches that provide services to the community. Representatives of these groups will be at vendor booths to provide information and answer questions about various low-cost or free services available to Moapa Valley residents. This is a great opportunity for residents, clergy and community leaders to experience all that is available to help people in our outlying area.

This event has been Mr. Griffiths’ labor of love for his community for several years now. He has worked hard to gather these resources year after year. Unfortunately, past attendance at the fair has been spotty, to say the least. But this year, its timing and location couldn’t be more convenient. So be sure to stop by the Community Resource Fair when visiting the Pomegranate Festival on Saturday. You might learn something you didn’t know before.

Unfortunately, Mr. Griffiths recently announced that he and his wife will soon be moving away from this community to be closer to their family in northern Utah. This will indeed be a painful loss for the Moapa Valley.

No doubt another will come forward to take Mr. Griffiths’ place as local coordinator of JustServe.org. But it will be very difficult to fill his shoes.

Larry, we offer our deepest gratitude for your diligent service to the Moapa Valley community over the past eight years and wish you the best in all your future endeavours. This well-deserved gold star is awarded to you!

Now, on a completely unrelated note, concerns have been raised by candidates for the Moapa Valley City Advisory Board (MVTAB) regarding a perceived vagueness in the wording of the ballot. The ballot asks voters to “vote for no more than five” candidates in this race. It seems pretty clear to me. But apparently it’s confusing for some.

As this is the first time a City Council election has appeared on our local ballot, I have been asked to clarify this a bit.

Residents of Logandale and Overton can vote for up to five of the eight candidates listed in the MVTAB race. More than five will not be allowed. Although voters can vote for less than five, this is not recommended as they would leave their votes on the table.

In short, just choose your top five from the list. The five candidates with the most votes will sit on the board of directors.

Above all, don’t forget to do your civic duty and vote!