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The Kingsport Neighborhood Commission is shown here at the Kingsport Farmers Market. From left to right are Heather Cook (past member), Margot Seay, Jennifer Adler (past BMA liaison) and Deborah Mullins.

Among many good words to live by are “be of use,” or as the Bible puts it in Luke, “Give, and it will be given to you.” If you seek opportunities to give back, look no further than the community in which you live.

Kingsport, for instance, is always looking for volunteers to help make the city a better place to live and play through service on various boards and commissions. We have enjoyed giving such time over the years and can testify to the sense of satisfaction it will provide.

The city has more than 20 boards and commissions on which you can serve.

They include: Bays Mountain Park Commission, Beverage Board, Board of Zoning and Appeals, Cattails Golf Course Management, Construction Board of Adjustments and Appeals, Demolition by Neglect Committee, Emergency Communications District/E-911 Board, Employee Dependent Scholarship Program, Foreign Trade Zone Commission, Gateway Review Commission, Historic Zoning Commission, and Kingsport Higher Education.

Also, Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Kingsport Public Library Commission, MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center Advisory Committee, Neighborhood Commission, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, PETWORKS, Public Art Committee, Regional Planning Committee, Senior Center Advisory Council, Tree Advisory Board, and the Visitor Enhancement Program Board.

You may volunteer for any of these groups at by filling out a form where you indicate which groups interest you , and answer a few questions. That form will be used to create a database of residents interested in serving Kingsport.

You must be a city resident to participate. The completion of the form is not a guarantee of an appointment. If you do not receive an immediate appointment, your name will remain on the list for future commission openings.

“Over the next six months, some of the boards have folks rolling off who don’t want to serve again,” said Adrienne Batara, the city’s public relations director. “We’re not desperate, but it’s nice to have a pool of volunteers available for when we need them.”

Deborah Mullins is the secretary for the Kingsport Neighborhood Commission and an avid volunteer. She is the vice president of the Rotary Club of Kingsport, a member of the PETWORKS advisory council and has served on two visioning councils for the United Way of Greater Kingsport. Mullins’ day job is working for the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office in a community relations and public information capacity.

If you’re thinking about volunteering, Mullins is encouraging you to give it a shot.

“Even if it’s just one evening a month, you can give a couple of hours. It makes a big difference to those organizations that need those couple of hours,” Mullins said.

“For me, at my core, I try to be helpful to others and try to be mindful of the needs of others, and one way I can do that is by helping my neighbors,” Mullins said. “I was raised to love our neighbors, and when I heard Kingsport was going to have a neighborhood commission, it sounded like a great fit.”

It can be for you as well.

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