A little bit about a lot of things:

• Communities just don’t happen without people who step forward and make a difference.....often with no motivation to lend a helping hand and quietly strengthen the fabric of the place they call home.

Those are people like Danny Robinson and Randy Corgiat, who recently retired from the Crows Landing Fire Department and will be honored at a community open house Aug. 3 (11-2 at the firehouse).

In an era when volunteerism seems to be flagging, they stand as examples of how one or two dedicated people can positively impact their community.

Robinson, the department’s chief, logged 38 years.

Corgiat, his assistant chief, put in 32 years before stepping down.

That’s 70 years of combined experience.....a lot of middle-of-the-night calls, family gatherings interrupted and plans changed by the pager tones going off.

Robinson, Corgiat and others like them who dedicate years of service to a volunteer fire department know both  the satisfaction of being able to help somebody in need and the helplessness of being unable to avert a tragedy despite their best efforts.

These are folks who for decades stood at the ready to drop what they were doing and respond to fires, accidents, medical aid calls, public assists and more on a moment’s notice....giving of themselves to help others.

They are well-deserving of our appreciation, and we thank them.

We need more people like that.

• The year ahead may be interesting in terms of West Side elections, as Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini last week confirmed that he will not seek re-election after finishing out his fourth term of office in January 2021.

DeMartini will have served 16 years when he wraps up his tenure on the Board of Supervisors....and he has been anything but a typical elected official.

His willingness to speak his mind grates on some people, but I always found his candor to be a positive. Agree with him or not, there has rarely been any doubt about where Supervisor DeMartini stands on various issues.

He is probably the hardest-working elected official I’ve ever seen, constantly attending meetings and events on the West Side and throughout his district to stay in touch with the communities he represents, and he does so without pretense.

Whoever succeeds Supervisor DeMartini is going to have a tough act to follow.

• So July finally got here, or so says the mercury this week. Temperatures well into triple digits are anticipated throughout the week, so Kat and I devoted a full day Saturday to outside chores and cleaning while the weather was a little more tolerable. We just took our time, trying to work at a steady pace rather than rushing through and wound up getting a lot done. Overdoing it in the heat is never a good idea....

Don’t see much outside work being done this week as I hope to stay in air conditioned climates as much as possible and encourage others to do the same.....but for those who can’t escape from the heat stay hydrated, seek shade, take breaks and for goodness sake be careful out there!

• Enjoyed, as always, visiting the Stanislaus County Fair last week....not once but twice as I was able to catch a variety of livestock shows last Monday and then went back on Wednesday to watch our local FFA and 4-H members participate in dairy showmanship.

Livestock barns and show rings have their own rhythms and routines, carefully honed and choreographed traditions developed over time and passed from one generation to the next. The barns and show rings are their own distinct area within the overall fairgrounds, which is in many ways similar to a small city in its own right during the 10 days of the fair.

While the remainder of the grounds are generally quiet through much of the day, the livestock areas are buzzing with activity as exhibitors prepare their livestock (and themselves) and then head into the ring to show.

Showing livestock at the county fair is a great experience, one which will be remembered for a lifetime regardless of the color of ribbon or placement in class.

My own days at the fair as an exhibitor were long ago, but I have an abiding appreciation for the experience and am happy to at least peripherally be part of the county fair scene all these years later.

It’s still a great scene, and one of the few things that - outwardly at least - has changed little through the years.

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.