Friday, July 2, 2010

Blow your horn......

Getting involved on whatever level is so necessary. It’s the little things about being part of your community that add up. We get to see a lot of that here in the middle of America. It’s not that it’s not happening in cities like NY or LA, it’s just that we actually get to see it because our population is so small . I learned that when I first moved to Ohio from New York. A local 80 year old woman, Jesse Curtis, who’s family had owed our property for over one hundred years, said to me when I moved out here, she said, “I hope you like small towns, cause folks do a lot of neighboring around here”. She was so right. The flip side of people knowing what you had for dinner is that they know when you need help even if you are not inclined to ask for help.

In my life I have seen 2 wars, said goodbye to friends who perished in 9/11 and watched a community crumble from hurricane Katrina. Disaster and heartache can also come from poverty. Poverty is one disaster that the nightly news doesn’t necessarily pick a powerful type font for when they are telling it story. The one thread however that they all share is the response of the American Red Cross. They are second responders to most disasters. Since its founding in the late 1800’s by visionary leader Clara Barton (who I did my first ever book report on in third grade), the Red Cross has been the nation's premier emergency response organization and on a global level, they offer neutral humanitarian care to the victims of war. They distinguish themselves by also aiding victims of devastating natural disasters. Their aim is to prevent and relieve suffering, offer compassionate services that help the needy, support and comfort for military members and their families, collect and distribute goods, process and distribute lifesaving blood and blood products, educate communities through programs that promote health and safety and provide international relief and development programs. I know that's a mouthful.....and here’s the part that gets me; an average of 92 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency (probably why is still functions as well as it does), it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.

We just hosted a luncheon here at the Ranch for our local Red Cross. We met the local Director, Pamela Martino a few years ago . She’s been our local Director for a few years and yet our local county hadn’t had the opportunity to meet her. Our local office has only 2 paid employees. They count on the response from volunteers and for the most part we have quite a few. Our goal was to bridge a gap and I think we accomplished that over a simple but delicious lunch. Chris and the rest of the kitchen staff prepared turkey cobb wraps, a local garden green salad, watermelon gazpacho and Ranch made ice cream. The conversation flowed like water over the common interest of everyone present to make sure we act like a community. That means taking care of the people that live here. It felt good. Extraordinary measures were not taken to pull it off, just a desire to help.

When I started this blog I was apprehensive about where it might go. I didn’t want it to be political and I didn’t want to write about what I think is wrong with the world. I hope in the few entries that I’ve shared I have steered clear of that. I will say this though, I think because of my life...the gift of my life...I have the responsibility to live it well and to pass on any goodness that was passed on to me. Today I was feeling the love. Everyone who attended our luncheon were members of a community that has seen it share of change, both good and bad. For the most part they were the working class. What I mean by that is that despite the money and riches they may have, they have all worked hard for it. I sat next to a gentlemen I have known for years. He is in his 80’s now and has is serving his sixth term on the Wildlife Council. With a farming background, he has a love for the land and everything that grows and lives on it. I am a better person today because of the people that the universe has put in my path. I’ll close out this lengthy post a few days before the 4th of July and just put it out there to get involved, help your neighbors, do service work and don’t forget to floss.

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