It doesn't matter whether you live in Price or Coos Bay, Ore.; or Havre, Mont.; in the newspaper business you see the best of a community and the worst of a community. For the most part, people and situations have been the same everywhere I have lived.
In my position I see people who spend their days complaining and criticizing, tearing down efforts, belittling others, badmouthing community leaders and overall hating whatever and whoever. And many of these people lobby to get the newspaper on their side so we can, "go after these corrupt people."
But on the other hand, I see the wonderful efforts others put in. These people, and thank goodness there are more of them than the other, reach out, they help, they encourage, they look for solutions rather than problems, they smile instead of frown and they realize by pointing a finger at someone else, they have three pointing back at themselves. They build communities rather than tear them down.
During the holiday season I see so much good, so many people being helped and so many changes being made. The efforts by the merchants in Helper and Price the past few weeks are incredible. Through the work of Downtown Alive and the Helper Alliance I have seen our Main Streets come alive and bustle with activities. The people who organize these seldom get back as much as they give, but it doesn't seem to matter.
Last week I noticed a very small committee, only six people I believe, put on the Helper Light Parade and all the activities and planning to make their annual Christmas town weekend a success. In the cold breeze, as temperatures dipped down to near zero, these people, shivering from hours out in the freezing temperatures, lined up the floats and kept things moving. They pulled off another incredible activity. I didn't hear one of them say, "What's in it for me." I didn't hear them complain because they weren't getting support or that there wasn't enough help. They were there because they know what it takes to keep a community going and the Christmas town theme is important for Helper's economy.
I got a call last week from an anonymous person, which is in my opinion, much like getting an unsigned letter. She wanted to complain about the new Kokopelli statue. It was unclothed, it was distasteful, it was in the wrong place. We have all heard the complaining. When I asked her what committee she was helping on that was making a difference in Price, her comment was something to the effect, "Help this community! I hate this place, and I wouldn't do a damn thing to help this place."
My point exactly.
Hats off to the people who make a difference and to those who help. Hats off to the hundreds of people who collect canned goods for the hungry, help raise money so less fortunate children can find a little joy Christmas morning and those that go to the retirement centers and visit with the elderly who are alone.
The majority of the people I know care about their families, communities and those less fortunate. The majority realize that to get ahead they sometimes have to give up something; to win, we must surrender; and we are either moving forward or moving backwards. There is no standing still. Things are always changing.
I have lived in communities where I met people that thought that community was the best and most wonderful place, but unfortunately these same wonderful communities for others were the worst and most awful places. I truly believe happiness is in the eyes of the beholder.
Today I salute the endless hours of volunteer time this holiday season. I salute the Helper Light parade committee, the Price Downtown Alive leaders, the workers in United Way, Soropitimists, Kiwanis, and the hundreds of young and old residents of Carbon County who reach out an make a difference.