KULM, N.D. - This week, I'm taking a break from business of farming and ranching to reflect on the activity and people in the towns and countryside we call home. With winter having set in quickly and harshly, we might start to wonder why we've chosen to endure negative temperatures and three-day blizzards.

As I sat down to write this column, I was distracted by the posts in my twitter timeline. It was full of the usual sports, news, politics, weather and market commentary I'm used to reading, but on Dec. 7 there was a particular string of comments marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I have no military service of my own to compare to, and certainly can't compare my life with the sacrifices of those who fought and died in World War II. But what started at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago and lasted through the end of World War II brought about a sense of unity and togetherness in this country that is hard to find these days.

I see it in our small towns in big and small ways nearly every day. It's a sense and spirit of neighbor-helping-neighbor, service and volunteerism that makes me proud to call Kulm, N.D., my home and I'm sure you see it in the place you call home, as well.

Think of all the organizations and activities where you live that wouldn't happen without a committed group of volunteers. I'm a bit concerned to start listing the activities in Kulm because I'm sure I'll leave something important off the list.

In Kulm, we are preparing for the town's 125th anniversary celebration in June 2017 - and you're invited. The celebration organization and planning committee - all volunteers - has been working diligently for the last couple of years to plan and raise money for this event. Even a small group of volunteers has spent countless hours writing and editing a history book in order to preserve and remember the history of our town.

Recently, the same planning committee held a Santa Claus day with kids' activities where volunteers arranged face painting for the kids and soup and sandwiches for lunch. Also related to the upcoming celebration,

Here in Kulm we were fortunate to have the support of the community to fund a new high school and gymnasium. Much of the success of that project is because of a group of volunteers, including the school board, fundraising committees and building committees. We have a dedicated group of volunteers in and around Kulm that serve on the city park board, airport board, golf course board, fire department, economic development committee, township boards, and the list goes on.

While the work and business of our farms and ranches is important and requires near constant attention, take the time to stay involved in your community - and thank all those others who do, as well.

Editor's note: Gackle is a third-generation farmer in Kulm, N.D., and former staffer for Gov. Tim Pawlenty.