Tag Archives: Blake

Ashleigh Blake: Appreciating the Value of Volunteerism


Citizen News, September 16, 2015.

When my husband and I first came to Sherman 17 years ago we were
looking for an antique home to restore and call our own. We did not
know at that time how important Sherman would become to us and
how deeply we would become woven into the fabric of this wonderful

Coming from Redding, CT I already had an in-depth understanding
of small town life in Connecticut and that the majority of necessary
tasks in such towns were accomplished almost exclusively by
volunteers. We soon learned that Sherman was just the same. Often,
as we labored on our house in the center of town, we would be visited
and encouraged in our effort by townspeople with best wishes. Buoyed
by the encouragement of our, then new. community and the
understanding of the necessity for community minded individuals, I
began volunteering at library and historical society events. Soon I was
asked to serve on the Conservation Commission where I served for 8
years (7 years as vice president). During my time on the Conservation
Commission I was involved with the Natural Resource Inventory
Report, helped organize numerous farm tours, worked on land
conservation measures and attended many planning zoning meetings
and site walks. Through volunteering for town boards and
organizations I came to know some really fantastic people in
Sherman-the type of people who help to build a community and make
it strong.

When our children Nathaniel and Eden reached school age I started
to focus my volunteer work at the Sherman School. I served on the
Sherman Parent Teacher Organization Board for 4 years (3 years as
president and one as secretary). I enjoyed contributing to the wonderful
atmosphere at the Sherman School. I chaired numerous committees at
the school while running the day-to-day activities of the SPTO. I made
it my directive to always maintain a fair approach to school issues and
to give my full efforts to whatever task; big or small, that my
responsibilities encompassed. I enjoyed being a part of the Sherman
School community and contributing a positive attitude.

In my 17 years as a Sherman resident I have volunteered for the
Library, Historical Society, Conservation Commission, the Sherman
Parent Teacher Organization, the Sherman School Art Show,
Matthew’s Hearts of Hope, Weed Warriors, Happy Acres & Matthew
25. All of these experiences have added to my understanding of the
importance of volunteerism. Without the people of Sherman that are
willing to volunteer their time and effort, the town, quite simply, would
not be as wonderful.

It is with a strong background of, and deep respect for volunteerism
that I will approach the job of selectman. It is my firm belief that our
town leadership must cultivate, encourage and, above all recognize the
efforts of those that contribute to make our community great.
Meaningful leadership is best practiced from the “front lines” where the
battle is met with rolled up sleeves and tireless hours of selfless service
not 10 minute cameo appearances and photo ops. My philosophy of
leadership will be this: Lead by example. recognize that your
volunteers are one of your most valued assets, and constantly strive to
encourage all who wish to contribute.

In the next several weeks leading up to the election my running-mate
Don Lowe and I will outline what we intend to do to make our
community even better. There is a great deal of room for improvement
in a multitude of areas in the wake of the last few years. I would
strongly encourage you to test the validity of my last statement. How?
Ask a Sherman volunteer.