Clearwater, FL: The Church of Scientology, Flag Service Organization acknowledged the more than 100,000 man hours dedicated to the community by Church volunteers at a holiday party last week. Held in the Crystal Ballroom of the Fort Harrison, the celebration was attended by 65 people.
After refreshments, the attendees were presented with certificates commending them for their contributions to the community through their volunteer efforts. The volunteers represented many different groups and activities.
There are those who had donated their time to secular programs such as the Foundation for a Drug Free World and United for Human Rights and others who assist with programs such as tutoring, disaster relief, economic development and the distribution of the Way to Happiness, a non-religious moral code based on common sense, which was written by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 80s.
Accountant Marlin Anderson, and his wife Joyce have been involved with the Way to Happiness for the past few years. This has included organizing the distribution of the Way to Happiness during the Republican National Convention, as well as distribution of the booklet and educational seminars in East Tampa.
“I started to get out the Way to Happiness after several senseless shootings in East Tampa and Ybor City,” said Marlin. “I felt that it was vital for us to help the community be safer. Kids are not taught right and wrong. There’s no moral compass, and the Way to Happiness provides that.”
Another group that was acknowledged was the Clearwater Community Volunteers, led by Pam Ryan Anderson. This group, though best known for its annual Winter Wonderland, does fundraisers and events for children throughout the year.
“The number of kids we have helped is in the thousands,” said Pam. “I get really excited about being able to help more children have food, clothing and shelter – all basic needs, but something that no child should ever have to worry about having.”
Through Winter Wonderland, where ‘admission’ is an unwrapped toy or non-perishable food item, a ton of toys and food are collected and given to local charities. Funds donated at the Wonderland go to support groups such as the Children’s Home, Nourish to Flourish and the Shriners’ Hospitals.
“Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard said that ‘A being is only as valuable as he can serve others,’” said Pat Harney, the Public Affairs Director for the Church. “These parishioners have an inspiring level of dedication to their community and their work is very much appreciated.”
Following the presentation, the Flag Band played holiday music for the honorees, who lingered over refreshments and the opportunity to socialize with their fellow volunteers.
“We usually are working in our own area of community service,” said Steve Sigal, recognized for raising the awareness of Scientology in the community. “So it was nice to network with our friends and to learn more about what they are doing.”
To find out more about how Scientologists work with the community, please go to www.scientology.org.