The city of Brookings honored its volunteers with a traditional American family picnic Saturday, with all the trappings from gunny sack races and touch football to pop music and potato salad.

Gathering around the bandshell at Azalea Park, volunteers and their families enjoyed a barbecue organized by the city and cooked by volunteers from the citys fire department. They also played games organized by childrens librarian Dori Frost and listened to music provided by KURY radios Kevin Bane.

The conversations were often peppered with more projects and ideas for city volunteers, from keeping up the Natures Coastal Holiday lighting program to additional improvements at Chetco Point, from building a permanent restroom and concession stand near the bandshell to raising funds for rewards in the Crimestoppers program.

The mayor and members of the city council, all volunteers themselves, read off the list of those city volunteers invited to the function.

Those volunteers provide a range of services from sitting on city advisory commissions to weeding the gardens of Azalea Park, from firefighting to summer recreation programs, from police department support to organizing concerts at the bandshell.

We had at least 440 people donate a conservatively estimated 24,850 hours to 32 city-sponsored or related volunteer committees and projects, said Mayor Bob Hagbom. At the rate of $10 per hours this means you volunteers donated over $248,500 in time to our great city.

Hagbom named Dan Palicki as volunteer of the year. Palicki is a retired police office who plays the part of McGruff the crime dog throughout the community for the Brookings Police Department.

He also oversees and participates in the following community policing programs: Safety City, Eddie the Eagle and the Safety Seat Clinic, which took place at Brookings-Harbor Ford and this years health carnival.

As for employees of the year, the city selected two people: Sharon Ridens, the citys administrative secretary, and Linda Barker, secretary for the community development department.

This was the second year for a summer volunteer picnic, a change from the previous format of a formal winter dinner.

City officials report the cost of the picnic, about $2,500, is far less than the value of the labor provided to the city by volunteers.