Not that you could really run out of active, community-minded volunteers to honor in a place like Saranac Lake, but still, we cheer every February when we find out who was picked as the Winter Carnival king and queen. They're always massively deserving people who have really put themselves on the line out of love for their neighbors here. It's worth swelling with pride about.
If you don't know this year's king and queen, Ed Scharmer and Cheri Fisher, you can read all about them on page A2 of today's paper. We won't repeat those admirable resumes here, but from reading them, it's easy to see how super they have been over so many years.
But if you do know them, as we do, you know that even such glowing bios don't quite reveal what good-natured and big-hearted people they are.
Enterprise reporters used to get to know Mr. Scharmer very well every winter; he was the go-to guy for everything one needed to know about the Winter Carnival Ice Palace. He was the palace-building boss - a job he has since relinquished to Dean Baker - and we sometimes had to call him at home pretty early in the morning or late at night to find out when they'd start cutting blocks, finishing, adorning, tearing down teetering post-Carnival castles, etc. It's easy to forget this winter, when we're blessed with such solid winter weather, how iffy the whole ice palace practice got in some of those warm years. One year they had to build a snow palace. Other years they couldn't start building until Carnival week. Other times they had to demolish it the day after Carnival because 60-degree days had made it unsafe. Boy, are we glad we don't have to cover that story this year.
But Mr. Scharmer was totally committed to the project, even during years when it was a liability. He always went out of his way to make sure we had his number and knew where he'd be - usually out working on the palace. Some leaders are great workers, and others are great communicators. Mr. Scharmer is both.
While Mrs. Fisher has been involved in seemingly everything since the early 1980s, our most vivid memories of her are from interviewing her and her husband Joe when he returned home on leave from Iraq, and from giving her our paper's Tri-Lakes Volunteer of the Year award in 2008. It was then that it really hit us that, as we said before, she was involved in seemingly everything: Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, Winter Carnival, the American Legion and VFW auxiliaries, the high school after-prom party, many other school volunteer projects and ... on and on. Wow.
She's also one of those volunteers who, when she flashes her sweet, megawatt smile, makes it seem kind of easy.
Here's another thing about her: We see her out all over the place. Go out to a local event and there's a good chance you'll see her and her husband. They won't be conspicuous - not up front or overly garrulous. They just take part in stuff. They show up, and they help out.
These little things - showing up and making yourself available - are indicators that someone really cares, really has community spirit. Cheri Fisher and Ed Scharmer have it big time. We're thrilled to have them as our king and queen.