Did I Make a Difference?
 (Gerry Balchuinas)
Published on Friday, November 12, 2010 in Charity, Guest Columns, News & Updates
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I sit and sometimes wonder what have I accomplished with my life and if I could do it over what would I change. I am sure you have all done the same thing once or twice. I’d probably get a little more education, that would be a great thing to have done, or do, and maybe not doing that “stupid thing” we all have done at one point in our lives. I just should have bought that Wal-Mart stock when I was in my early twenties. But, how many of us actually sit down and say, “Damn, I am glad I did that,” and really mean it? As the years pass by and I see loved ones and friends move on to greener pastures, I know I have done things that have made a definite difference in someone’s life. Think about it, your direct actions making a difference for other people. So, how does this apply to this magazine and what it represents? Funny you should ask that question, for I was re-reading this and asked the same question to myself. Then another question came to mind, how does it not apply to this magazine and the people whom this magazine represents?
Each day we read and see things that people are doing to better our community through their actions and generosity. Well, what about the people that represent this magazine. Randy Toth comes to mind. The work he puts in for all of us is mind boggling, but there is not one mention of it on the local news. Not that what he, and many others here, may have done is a cure for a major disease or world hunger, but could it be a cure or resolution for other things? How do we know that the things we do are not watched by others, therefore influencing their actions? Again, it may not be a cure for world hunger, but the feeling most of us get taking in that breathtaking view or feeling the acceleration as we whip down the trail surely can take the mind off a bad situation… for just a while. That small taste of solace can be monumental to some, in ways we all may not understand.
Another thing; did you know that last year, with the help of Marsha Miller, our charity chairman, the clubs of Massachusetts donated a huge amount of toys to needy children? I’m sure the toys given to the kids didn’t have a tag that said “From SAM” on them, but does it really matter? The clubs also sent two children with disabilities to summer camp. Members have also donated to many other projects and charities and have also given many thousands of dollars to students through the scholarship fund.
So when you sit back and read YOUR magazine feel good in knowing that if you bought and paid for your SAM sticker and you joined a club, you have helped someone for the better. Just as the many volunteers who represent this magazine donate their time and talents, you too have helped. It is a good feeling to know that the money you spend is not just going to the day-to-day bills and monotony that go along with running SAM.
You never know how it will pay forward in the long run. The little child that received a radio controlled snowmobile from one of the clubs may think it is pretty cool and want to upgrade. Next thing you know, they are an avid rider and it was all because of a donation from a place they never even known existed. That college graduate we helped grows up to be a major player in the state and remembers the good deed done for them way back when–back when they were nothing more than a wet-behind-the-ears teenager, not quite sure what life held for them.
A good deed will never go unnoticed. For even if you are the only one that notices the deed, aren’t you your biggest critic, and in the end, the one you really have to answer to when all is said and done? Never be afraid to stand up and help, and remember this little tidbit; They came for the dirt bike riders, and I did nothing because I wasn’t a dirt bike rider. They came for the boaters, and I did nothing because I wasn’t a boater. They came for the hunters, and I did nothing because I wasn’t a hunter. Then they came for me, but there was nobody left to help me. Think about it!!!!
On a side note, I would like to congratulate my daughter Erica on being selected for SAM Junior Snowmobiler of the Year. She joins her two siblings Kevin and Sarah who have also been bestowed this honor. I love you very much and am so very proud of you, and your brother and sister, too… Dad

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