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Little town filled with big hearts


October 15, 2012
Billie Shelton ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

Kindness can come in the form of a chocolate cake or an ice cream sundae, you know. Sometimes the urge just to do something, anything, to help shows up in labor, a hug, a smile, good will. Compassion can be seen when someone steps up to do the right thing for an individual who's hurting, even when it might be uncomfortable.

And decency can show itself in the form of a cash donation to help out.

Sometimes I think that what little towns do best is to rally around their friends and neighbors when they hit the really tough times. Our hearts - and usually our wallets, too - are opened wide.

That's just what happened in my little town on Saturday night, when there was a community dinner in support of the family of my neighbor who was killed this summer, leaving a wife and four young children. Since the accident, countless people have asked me what the family needed, how they could help. And out of that emerged the idea to hold a benefit for the family. With my friend (we called ourselves the committee of two), we got to work planning.

We didn't really know what we were doing, but we knew why we were doing it. Believe me, there's a lot involved. The first task is choosing a target number of attendees. Good luck with that. We just picked a number based on our best guess and prepared food for that many. I wonder if you've ever prepared supper for 300. Then there are details like location, menu publicity, and date.

And at every turn, we found people and organizations and businesses willing and eager to help out in just about any way they could. They donated their time, their money, their food, their support. It was as if everyone had been waiting for a good chance to do something to help out ever since they'd heard the sad news about George. And this gave them that avenue.

In the end, everything worked out just fine. The food was cooked and ready to serve on schedule. Those of all ages who had volunteered to help showed up at their appointed time and did their assigned task cheerfully. Desserts people donated just kept pouring in, and so did people who came to have supper and leave their donation to the cause.

Our town doesn't have a corner on holding benefits; I hear about them all the time around the area for all kinds of reasons - a fire that took a family's home, an illness, or maybe a bad accident. I think it shows that we all want to be there for others when we can.

At least that's what happened last week. I believe we made a difference for the family that evening in our little town.



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