Three cheers for all the volunteers out there.

That includes those who are working this week’s Pro Football Hall of Fame festivities in Canton and those who, a month ago, were involved in the PGA senior men’s golf tournament at Firestone Country Club in Akron and Coventry Township.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. A thousand times, thank you. Hats off to you, the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of you, possibly even some of you reading this.

Those are, by far, the biggest events not just in our local area, but in the entire Northeast Ohio region, from a national perspective. Indeed, the whole country pays attention to what goes on in both venues and as such make judgements about our area and the people in it by what they see, or don’t see.

The people running these events are well-compensated financially, as well they should be. Their salaries are based on making certain these events come off without a hitch so that the expected revenue streams can manifest themselves.

But they would be the first to tell you – over and over and over again if necessary so as to make the point – that these events could not happen, would not happen, if not for the volunteers. It just wouldn’t be possible.

The top officials and organizers set the framework – that’s the easy part, to be sure – but there are many, many holes to fill, and very few are filled by paid employees. They’re filled by volunteers, people kike you who are more than happy to do so.

The volunteers sign up to do this – many by sacrificing vacation time so they can fully give of themselves without any other professional responsibilities – because they completely understand the importance of what they’re doing, and what’s at stake.

Or because they like to do so. They think it’s cool, and it is.

Or because they feel it’s their duty as a resident of the area.

Or because they’ve done it for years and it’s just become part of who they are.

Or because they like to volunteer – no matter what or where it is – in that it’s their way of giving back.

Or because of all of, or some combination of, the things I’ve listed.

Volunteers don’t get a lot of hype, if any. Their work, while so crucial, flies under the radar. No one – perhaps other than their family members and friends, and the other volunteers at that these venues – know who they are or what they’re doing. But that’s OK. They’re not in it for praise, or notice of any kind. They know the deal. They know how this all works.

But those working during HOF week or at the golf tourney at Firestone aren’t the only volunteers around here who deserve our thanks.

There are also those in hospitals.

Schools.

Churches.

Youth groups.

Nursing homes.

Community organizations.

Charity organizations.

And so on and so forth. The list goes on and on.

You volunteers are the keys to our area – the strength of it, really.

We should have said this long ago, but it’s better late than never: Heartfelt gratitude for all you do.