To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.
Why Give? Ashley P. Hardesty, Partner Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love LLP Ashley Hardesty is a partner in the Morgantown, West Virginia office of Bowles Rice and focuses her practice in the areas of litigation, insurance defense, employment law and education law. She earned her law degree from the West Virginia University College of Law in 2003 and her bachelor of arts degree in political science from West Virginia University, where she was a member of Mountain honorary. Ms. Hardesty frequently has been recognized for her involvement in the Morgantown community, where she was a member of Leadership Monongalia’s Class of 2007 and a founder and former president of Generation Morgantown. She was selected as a 2010 Generation West Virginia Regional All Star and a 2008 “Generation Next: 40 Under 40” award winner. She is a member of the Power of 32 Steering Committee and serves on the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs Committee, the West Virginia University College of Law and School of Nursing Visiting Committees and the Board of Directors of the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. I am compelled to start this article by noting how grateful I am to be a contributor to this edition of Views & Visions, because it provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my own experiences in community service. And, upon reflecting on this topic, I realized that the rewards I receive from being involved in the community are numerous and varied. This realization created in me a renewed motivation for staying involved in the community. Writing this article also allows me the opportunity to publicly thank my parents, David and Susan Hardesty, for instilling in me both a sense of duty and a passion for giving as much of myself as possible to my community and to public service. My father is a well-known and respected public servant, and my mother is a professional volunteer. My parents truly epitomize the words of my father’s favorite orator, Winston Churchill, who said “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Even though my parents’ example as public servants may have been the primary motivation for me to get involved in the community, it is definitely the rewards of service that keep me involved. Giving provides me personal satisfaction, exposes me to new business opportunities, and undoubtedly improves my whole life. By far, the most profound rewards of service are in the relationships developed with individuals I encounter across different sectors of the community. Being involved in a variety of service projects allows me to make and maintain friendships, find new mentors, and expand my network of business contacts. A broad base of friends and associates is rewarding because it exposes me to different interests, perspectives, points of references and sources of assistance. Being connected to others in the community helps me grow as an individual, and as a leader. Volunteering allows me to practice skills 54 Spring 2012 involving teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, organization, and time and task management. These skills are inherent to the practice of law and, therefore, my community service experiences make me a better attorney. Being involved in the community also allows me to do things that are not such an inherent part of the practice of law, such as spending time outdoors, soliciting funds for a cause and event planning. Finally, community service is fulfilling and provides me with purpose outside of my work life. Investing time in community service creates a sense of belonging, engagement and ownership in the community. My life truly is more complete and more satisfying with service. The answer to the question “Why give?” likely is different for each and every person. I personally am moved by the example and words of others who have given much more than I could ever imagine. Therefore, I leave you with quotes from two significant examples of public service: “Everyone can be great because anyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t even have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love...” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Mahatma Gandhi* Note: *This quote, and similar variations, have been attributed to several individuals, including Mahatma Gandi,William Penn (see page 36) and French missionary, Stephan Grellet. THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT