The Heart of a Volunteer

Volunteering requires that you give of yourself in addition to the regular eight to five business hours.

By Kathleen Swift


Aristotle said the essence of life is to serve others and to do good. Over 2,000 years later, Cindy McFadden, and other volunteers like her, are still putting hands and feet to that philosophy in our communities.

Cindy and her husband, Lonnie, have lived in Lamar for 30 years and own McFadden Land and Title Company.

“For many years, I worked in a local dental office rather than in our business,” said Cindy, “but 10 years ago, we started working together. Lonnie works in our Nevada office, and I work in our Lamar office. My work schedule varies, and that has given me the freedom to be more involved in the community. Volunteering requires that you give of yourself in addition to the regular eight to five business hours.”

Cindy has served as a member of the board of the Barton County Chamber of Commerce and has twice served as its president. Additionally, she serves on the Barton County Community Foundation Board, which serves as a tax-exempt charitable vehicle for residents to make gifts in support of local needs.

“The money is invested and works in our communities through scholarships and grants,” explained Cindy.

Currently, Cindy serves as president of the local chapter of Rotary International.

“The motto for Rotary is ‘service above self,’ and we work together for the betterment of the community. One of our projects is our trash pick-up along I-49. It’s a lot of fun, and we’ve turned it into a kind of competition,” said Cindy. “We compete to see who can find the best treasure or the most gross object. It’s amazing how much trash people throw out.

“Rotary also runs a cook shack during the Lamar Free Fair and sponsors the Fair Queen contest. We hold our annual veteran’s tribute luncheon in November. In February, we honor our farmers at our Rural/Urban luncheon.”

The volunteer effort that holds the most passion for both Cindy and Lonnie is their work with Life of Hope Ministries. Cindy said, “This is a non-denominational ministry that works with homeless mothers and children in Latin America. We work in Guatemala City, Guatemala, at the landfill that is as large as 23 football fields and is the home for many people. We wanted to be more involved and felt this ministry allows us to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We can do more than write a check; it lets us work with people directly. We go there several times a year and work as support staff for medical or dental personnel running clinics for the people. Dr. Layla, a local physician, operates a three-story clinic right outside the landfill. After the people have seen the doctors or dentists, we pray with them and find out about their lives. We’ve developed many relationships with the people there. We help children with schooling and hygiene. Gangs are a real issue, and the gangs prey on children to run guns and drugs. We try to keep children out of gangs through community centers. We also provide a warm meal every Friday night.

“People ask us if it is safe. No, it is not safe, and it’s smelly, overcrowded and filthy. But we tell our kids that if something happens to us, we’ll have gone out helping others and doing what we love.”