Imagine Goodyear, Avondale, Buckeye or Litchfield Park in 2003; sprawling farmland and unobstructed mountain views. Think of moving to the Southwest Valley in the heat of summer; this is how my story begins. Within four days of graduating from residency in Detroit, Michigan, I made the cross-country journey with a trailer attached to a U-Haul after deciding to call the Southwest my home.
Many have a similar experience; others are natives, but all understand the dynamic that has happened in our neighborhood and surrounding cities over the past 17 years. It is still a quagmire how the Southwest has changed in that time. This change has not only been through population, business, civic growth and development, but has also come by way of cultural awareness of our fellow man and woman.
The first decade of my time in the West Valley was spent establishing Palm Valley Oral Surgery and starting a family. Countless hours in the office led to little time for other endeavors. However, as the West Valley grew, my practice grew along with it, as did a greater sense of awareness to the needs of others in our community.
Having just moved from Goodyear to Litchfield Park, I was looking for an opportunity to be involved, to do something meaningful in my community. It was at this time Mayor Tom Schoaf, and businessmen Mike Yates and Mike Etchart ignited a fire in a small group of men, and the West Valley Mavericks was born.
I was one of the fortunate to become involved early. Through this organization, I have realized what it is to be a true member of a community.
Prior to the Mavericks, I would participate in local health fairs and community events to be involved or ti give back. However, as time passed, I learned my effect was limited and the assistance I was providing had marginal reach.
Having been an active member and the president of the Mavericks, I saw a significant number of applications for assistance from many in our small community — I was humbled. Moreover, I learned the profound impact a small gift of a few thousand dollars can have on a single charity allowing it to keep the doors open and, “pay it forward,” by helping another 100-plus individuals.
In all, I doubt it uncommon that as a community grows the general need for charity and support of the community grows, too. I feel it is like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, way at the top of the pyramid, when all other needs are met, the individual begins to look outward at how they can help others. Life experiences and wisdom increase one’s awareness of others’ needs for kindness, charity and community.
2020 is almost over, and I’m sure it causes a collective sigh of relief from all.
However, I feel we can use this year as a motivator, an opportunity to look deeper and a positive can be found. Specifically, with the pain, discontent and sincere despair many have felt in 2020, we ALL have many opportunities to give.
These feelings are a powerful motivation to do some good within OUR community and to get involved. It could be as simple as dropping a kind note to a neighbor, providing assistance to those that can’t leave the house, providing a charitable gift to the less fortunate, donating your time or even making a call or kind gesture so another feels cared for.
In these times of hard despair and severe need, make the effort to care for your fellow community members. There have been few greater occasions.
Editor’s Note: West Valley Mavericks member Randall Blazic DDS, MD of Litchfield Park is a U.S. Air Force veteran and owner of Palm Valley Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Goodyear.