Many ham radio operators volunteer their time and use ham radio primarily for local public service events such as races, parades, city festivals, etc. Skills learned helping with such things are useful in emergencies when regular local communications such as home telephones and cell phones are not available due to disasters such as terrorism, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.
Some hams like to communicate across the country or the other side of the globe. There are some that like to use satellites or bounce their signal off of the moon and others have even spoken with astronauts on the International Space Station.
Ham radio will begin new friendships for you either through an amateur radio club that may be located in your town or over the air.
Remember: When the telephone lines are down the hams are up!