Lake Gaston is remarkable. I had a wonderful time on Saturday volunteering at the finish line of The Crossing to hand out t-shirts with a great team of volunteers consisting of Chamber board members, O’Sail board members and caring community members.
I give high praises to Kathy and Randi Dikeman and the many O’Sail volunteers who give their ideas, time and talents so generously to offer top-quality events like The Crossing to showcase Lake Gaston. They have not only created three different highly successful recurring events but also give the proceeds from these events to further efforts around the lake in infrastructure, the arts and education. The other notable O’Sail events are Fall for the Arts, every other October, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, once a month January-March.
There are so many other organizations and civic groups who work to enhance life at Lake Gaston year-round. I will not be able to name all of them here, but let’s take a look at a few. I would be remiss in talking about assistance at The Crossing if I did not mention the US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 93. These volunteers were on the water and on shore during The Crossing looking out for any signs of distress from event participants and making sure other boaters did not cause a hazard to the event. These men and women go through many hours of training to assist in keeping the waters of Lake Gaston safe. Their primary function in safety is teaching monthly boating safety classes in Spring and Summer to help boaters of all ages understand how to properly operate their vessels, boats and personal water craft.
Did you enjoy the beautiful fireworks at Eatons Ferry Bridge on July 4th? Let’s hear it for Longbridge Volunteer Fire Department, without whom we would not have this glorious celebration of our nation’s independence. These volunteers have to raise funds for the fireworks, which are extremely costly, in addition to working their full-time jobs and performing the day-to-day property and lifesaving functions of the fire department. I hope everyone donated generously this year. While we are talking about our volunteer fire departments, what about Roanoke-Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department? Each Thursday night, unless there is a holiday, they offer BINGO to our community. BINGO is a great way for Lake Gaston full-time and part-time residents and visitors to get out and have a little good old fashioned fun. In addition, RWVFD also holds a very popular quarterly yard sale, which helps local residents get rid of unwanted items, creates another fun event for the community and raises much-needed money for the fire department.
Lake Gaston Volunteer Fire Department is another group of our local heroes making our community a better place to live. These guys and gals offer a wide variety of fun (and tasty) events like Boston butt sales, spaghetti/steak/pork chop dinners, horse trail rides, motorcycle poker runs, a golf tournament, pancake breakfasts and more throughout the year! Yes, these events raise funds for the fire department, as they should, but they also create that sense of community and camaraderie that make Lake Gaston such an amazing place to live.
How about the Lake Gaston Computer Club? For just a small membership fee, you can get help when your computer is on the fritz. You can also attend their monthly club meetings to listen to some very interesting speakers like Greg Fishel with WRAL and a representative from the Department of Justice to share information on identity theft. What about the Lake Gaston Water Safety Council? They, too, offer monthly meetings with interesting speakers related to Lake Gaston issues. The LGWSC also operates the water safety trailer at a variety of community events to provide education on how to properly wear a PFD (personal flotation device) and other water safety topics. The Lake Gaston Association is another group invested in the interests of Lake Gaston property owners. The LGA also conducts monthly meetings with guest speakers on issues such as weed control, property tax rates, etc., and hosts such events as the annual Lake Gaston Clean-up Day in May.
The people of the Lake Gaston region care deeply for our communities and are willing to personally work to make life here better for everyone. I am constantly in awe of the amazing accomplishments of our Lake Gaston volunteers. Thanks for all you do!