This is your community

By Todd Miller / Guest CommentaryOctober 18, 2012 

Some of our citizens are confused about our Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber of commerce is a membership organization funded by dues voluntarily paid by the businesses in our community. Our mission is to aid and support those businesses who are members. The chamber is not the government. We don't receive a penny of government money.

The chamber can not fix pot holes, sweep roads, compel landowners to cleanup property, file complaints, discipline business, clear vagrants, house the homeless or change building codes.

We can, and do, advocate for our members. We try to bring business to our members. We aid new business. We aid struggling businesses. We help our member businesses market themselves. We are business owners helping other business owners.

There are 15 board members and all are unpaid volunteers giving of their time and experience to help their fellow business members. The chamber has one full-time director and one part-time office worker. That's it.

The chamber has raised funds to support community projects that help our members. The chamber was instrumental in cleaning up the corner of Highways 41 and 49. The Chamber Foundation raised the money to put a fence around the property with the permission of the landowner.

Chamber volunteers cleared the weeds from the old Midway Market property and the Chamber Foundation raised the money to remove the ugly chain link fence and erect the current fence. This was all done by volunteers.

Most things that get done in this community are done by volunteers. The money and management of your local Oakhurst Community Park is all volunteers. The park is on private land donated for your use and not maintained by the county.

The building and maintenance of the River Parkway is all volunteers. The planting and watering of the trees along Highway 41, 49 and Crane Valley Road (426) is all volunteers. `The care of stray and abandoned animals is all volunteers. The people that man the front desk at the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau are volunteers.

The board that manages the Oakhurst Community Center are volunteers. The firefighters at Oakhurst, Cedar Valley, Bass Lake and Coarsegold are volunteers. The civilians that help our Sheriff, Citizens on Patrol, are all volunteers. The docents at Fresno Flats Historical Park & Village are volunteers. And the list goes on and on.

This is your community. You have no local government. You have little say in county government with only one supervisor representing you against four that do not. If something needs to be done, you need to volunteer to get it done. There is no one to call.

If you see something that needs fixing get out of your car and fix it. If you see trash on the road or in the park, clean it up. If you don't like the weeds in downtown grab your weed-whacker and fix it.

Most of us moved here to get out of the city. No city -- no services. We must be self reliant.

When you call the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, don't call to complain. Be part of your community. Call to volunteer. Be part of the solution.

-- Todd Miller is a volunteer member of the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

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