From the Center 7-21-21

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, July 20, 2021

I have said it before, and I will continue to say it. Time and time again, I am astonished by the number of men and women we have in this county that leave their family and the comfort of their home to help others, most of the time, complete strangers.

Years ago, I realized what it was that was driving them to get out of a warm bed at 2 a.m., up from the dinner table or away from their favorite TV show. I sat in the middle of a wet highway on New Year’s Day holding the hand of a complete stranger while she told her husband his mother had been killed in a car accident. It was a feeling I had never felt before, and it was something I would gladly do over and over again without hesitation.

Last week I held the hand of a crying woman whose sister was missing as countless volunteers came to walk in the Summer heat through woods and fields to search for her loved one. I have held babies, wiped tears and hugged strangers and that very well is the most rewarding part of my job.

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Sunday morning, tragedy struck again. I made my way to the scene just outside of Prentiss. Most of us were in our church clothes, and it was hot. I turned around to see our Coroner with her arm around a man providing comfort to him. That wasn’t in her job description and it wasn’t something she was instructed to do, but she did it without hesitation.

These people aren’t just there doing their job, they aren’t just there volunteering, but they are there with compassion and empathy. It takes a special person to help others when there is nothing to gain in return. Our county is full of these people and they don’t get the thanks, appreciation or acknowledgement that they deserve.

We seem to be a culture of negativity. Maybe a crime is not solved as quickly as you would like, or there is a pothole in the road you travel every day. Have you researched the details of the situation or just made an assumption? Have you offered your assistance in the matter or just griped to others?

When I was young, my dad put a sticker on an old refrigerator in our carport that said quityerbellyachin. Every time I went out to the fridge, I stood there trying to figure out what in the world those letters meant. It took quite some time for me to get it, and once I did, I have never forgotten it.

Criticizing is rampant, while appreciation is not and it’s time we change that. I think we all need the sticker on our fridge as a reminder. It only takes a few seconds to pay a compliment or spread positivity, and best of all, it’s free. Let’s tell everyone how fortunate we are to have these good people in our community and by our sides. And most importantly, let’s let them know we are thankful for their service.

Because it very well could be you next, on the side of the road on a hot Sunday morning.