WEST LIBERTY — As working parents struggle to balance career demands with family time, they may be pushing a third element — community service — to the back burner. How do parents in their 40s balance the demands of family and work with the needs of a community? John McCullough, executive assistant to the president at West Liberty University, sees all three elements as a triad connecting the key priorities of life. “Family comes first, and then our careers, but community service is vital if we are to improve the quality of life in the Ohio Valley,” he said. He said a factor in giving back something to the community resides in time management. “Once we identify community service as a life priority, we will find time to do it,” he added. “When we develop a spirit of volunteerism and get involved, we become role models to our children by showing them good citizenship.” McCullough said everybody may not be ready to serve on a corporate board of directors but there are countless opportunities for those who want to get involved. “The first step is simply to get started. It won’t take long to find a worthy organization in need of some help. The rewards are plenty,” he said. “There is a lot of self-satisfaction when we contribute in some small way and gain a sense of belonging to something positive as we help others.” McCullough encourages both husbands and wives to look for community service opportunities in areas of their specific interest. “Spouses should respect each other’s service priorities,” he said. “They have to be willing to take their turn at home with the children and give enough leash to make it work.” He said it is also important for spouses to talk about their activities and to share an interest in what each of them is doing. A native of Atlanta, Ill., McCullough and his wife, Barbara, have lived in the Wheeling area for the past 40 years and both continue to respect the needs of others. He serves on the boards of the Ohio Valley Health Services and Education Corp., the Wheeling Salvation Army and Family Services of the Upper Ohio Valley. Barbara McCullough is active in the Wheeling Civic Garden Center and has served in several parent-teacher groups as a teacher and as a parent. McCullough said true community service is a labor of love rather than a burden, and it can become the glue that bonds families and successful organizations.
Balancing community service with family life is a matter of setting priorities, according to John McCullough, executive assistant to the president at West Liberty University.