By Julie Slama, The Sandy Journal
Sandy – Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan not only shared his love for serving the city, but also asked Blessed Sacrament students to step up and give service themselves.
“The greatest reward in your life is when you serve other people,” Dolan told students at their Feb. 3 civic engagement assembly. “I encourage you to get involved in your Scout troops, in your church groups or in other youth organizations to step up and see how you can help in your own neighborhoods.”
Dolan said that by doing this, they can make a difference in the world around them.
Although Dolan was born amid politics in Washington, D.C., and minored in political science at college, he said he read the three newspapers that came to his house for the comics.
“I never thought I’d be an elected official. It wasn’t until I moved to Sandy that I got that involved, and that was with the historic committee for Sandy’s centennial in 1993,” he said.
From there, Dolan got involved in party politics and helped to get others elected.
“I felt it was part of my civic duty. The most important government is the city government because 90 percent of the services you use, it provides,” he said.
It was after he had attended city council meetings for four years and failed to encourage others to run, that Dolan himself ran for office.
“I came in thinking I knew a lot about Sandy but learned quickly that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did,” said the mayor, who is currently in his fifth term. “But it’s fulfilling to see Sandy grow. I really love and care about our community and want to make it safe, clean and a place families can thrive. My goal is to improve the quality of life and to expand our tax base to improve services for our city.”
Blessed Sacrament Director of Advancement Brigitte Klement said that the reason students gathered is to celebrate being civic leaders.
“Civil leaders can help bring about change — you can bring about change today and in the future,” she told students.
Sean Crossland, of Salt Lake Community College’s Thayne Center for Service Learning, told students to find their niche and engage themselves in that interest.
“Be who you want to be — the best you can be,” he said. “If your interest is in air quality or basketball, you’ll be able to learn and solve things best when they’re things you’re interested in.”
He reminded students to not just think of present day but to see how they would like to see things in the future.
“There’s a saying that goes like this, ‘Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they will never sit in.’ Realize what you start, you may never see complete, but starting it will make a big difference,” he said.
An example he gave was that although people provide food to those who are in need, they will never see the end of world hunger.
“Realize that as simple as willing to serve food for an hour or hold a food drive will help even though it won’t be the answer to helping everyone. Celebrate the simple victories,” he said.
At the end of Dolan’s talk, eighth-graders Karley Viczian, Natalie Diller and Sydney Hurst posed questions to him, including the legislation on Utah air quality, his motivation to serve and his day-to-day schedule.
Eighth-graders Kendal Neuman and Emmy Darling asked Crossland about issues in poverty and advice in social justice.
“Our eighth-graders study U.S. history and believe our faith calls all of us to be stewards of the earth and others,” Klement said.
Music teacher Laura Thomas appreciated the assembly.
“Citizenship is big in our school, and this is a neat opportunity for them to hear how it affects our community and be able to relate to it within in our own school community,” she said. “When they help fellow classmates with peer teaching, they learn to respect one another and to serve them.”