People with the CanDo Spirit
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens
can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
"I decided to be a part of CanDo because of the quality of the people involved. These are people, like myself, who love their community and believe in the power of people working together to make a difference. I think that's the most important thing to know about CanDo, and what better way to demonstrate this than by talking to a diverse sample of CanDoers, all sharing a love of doing what it takes to keep our community strong. If you find even a little of yourself in their stories, you're sure to fit right in!"
Aimee Inglis, Interviewer
Meet Ed Fields - CanDo Volunteer
"When we're involved, the community gets better, everything gets that much better. One person really does make a difference."
For more than 37 years Ed Fields has called Napa home. Whether designing landscaping and digging in a garden, jamming with friends, or giving back to the community he loves, Ed is a man with the CanDo spirit.
What is your day job? If retired, what kind of professional work did you do in your life?
I've been in landscape construction for nearly 40 years, from Caltrans work to upscale residential. I'm also currently a "personal assistant" taking care of my grandchildren.
What are some of your hobbies?
Music and golf. I like to listen to everything. I play nearly everything from Cajun to classical to Grateful Dead to Aretha Franklin to Bob Dylan. I was a drummer for 60 years of my life, doing lots of percussion stuff, piano, and I play the guitar. I love to jam if you know anybody looking for a jam. Music is a wonderful thing, I think it's the magic medium everybody understands.
What are some of the ways you give back to your community?
I'm a long-time believer in giving back and being a part of the community in which you live. Back in 1980 I ran for school board and the process was interesting. In the mid 80s we formed a design review board. Initially it was just a wonderful experience and group, but it got to be fairly political as things went on. In the early 80s with potential floods, it was nothing to ask for volunteers, and we community members would stand by with equipment just in case. With CanDo the real credit goes to those people who organize, the Granias and the Hilarys. For me, I want mindless work, to pass things out, do mulching, etc. There are so many organizations doing work of concern to CanDo and what we do is provide the manpower.
What led you to join CanDo?
I was involved in Organizing for America, as were many of the founders of CanDo. I wanted to do some grassroots organizing for the betterment of the community. So I did something I never would have done when I was younger: I came to an informational meeting by myself and was incredibly impressed with Hilary and Grania. I'm not ready to let go of politics, so I have a foot in both organizations, OFA and CanDo
What kinds of activities draw you?
I'll involve myself in whatever, with whatever time I have. For instance I loved Project Homeless Connect. Last year that was such a heartwarming experience.
What keeps you doing community service?
When we're involved, the community gets better, everything gets that much better. One person really does make a difference. As human beings we have the ability to reason and I think we can reason the need for kindness and compassion: Really everything gets a little bit better if we have those qualities.
Is there a memorable moment you can share that occurred during one activity?
I think just overall the experiences are heartwarming: the food bank drive, the homeless project. To be able to see all that is really a heartwarming experience. The Pathway Home project is great and I've been trying to help with that as much as I can. Our vets are not being taken care of and they really should be a prioirty. There's not even a pathway project geared toward female veterans. Our veterans deserve to be recognized, and I don't think that just because I was one.
Advice to potential volunteers?
Participate and keep participating. Be active. Our system and our democracy takes work. I think that people have to do their homework and make intelligent decisions and it takes effort. God knows we need some changes. Election reform has to be paramount. We just saw between two people spend over 100 million dollars for a primary election, and it's not fair for Joe or Jill Schmo who come off the street. They should be afforded the same time and opportunities that money can buy. Get involved. That's how our system works. You can't stand by and watch.
Previous Articles about People with the CanDo Spirit: