Service before self.
Those are words to live by. At least, they’re words to live by if you happen to be Sandy Mamola.
Founder of the Friday feast at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Coeur d’Alene 32 years ago, Mamola last week finally called it quits. The soup kitchen she created to send the poor and the disadvantaged into weekends with something nutritious in their stomachs will continue without her, but it likely will never be quite the same.
A whole lot of love and dedication went into every meal Sandy ever oversaw.
The story of Sandy and husband Gary’s dedication to the hungry — that’s more than 1,600 Friday meals prepared and served in their tenure — is inspirational beyond the obvious. The Mamolas lost their 53-year-old son, Jeff, to Lou Gehrig’s disease recently. If you know anything about the disease, also called ALS, you know the Mamolas have endured nightmares that loved ones should not have to face. To deal with that terminal, long-lasting illness and yet tend to their hungry flock every week is testament to what service means to the Mamolas.
The parish’s council and staff will continue to run the soup kitchen until someone takes the ministry over, so step No. 1 is this: If you feel like you’re ready to step up where Sandy left off, please contact St. Pius. Coeur d’Alene’s longest-serving soup kitchen is just one thread of the beautiful tapestry of our community taking care of the less fortunate among us. But one thread undone can weaken or even ruin an entire tapestry. We must take none of them for granted.
Service reaches much further than a church kitchen, a service club’s mission or any other nonprofit’s reason for being. To some, there’s a calling of a different kind: civic service.
On Monday evening, officials from the city of Coeur d’Alene hosted a symposium for prospective City Council candidates. Residents throughout the area are figuring out if they’ve got what it takes — time, talent and tenacity — to serve their fellow citizens on school boards, councils or other elected bodies. If you think you’ve got what it takes, please, step right up. This good community can get even better.