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AS WE SEE IT: Looking for the helpers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – Fred Rogers

This quote from Fred Rogers has been on our minds a lot during the recent ice storms across our area. 

Some of what we’ve seen on social media – once we were able to get back on social media – was complaining and groaning. But a lot more was appreciation. Appreciation for the utility workers trying to restore power and water. Appreciation for the road crews keeping state routes open. Appreciation for the neighbors who’ve delivered water and cut out fallen trees to keep rural roads open. Appreciation for the community groups, both private and public, who’ve provided meals and places to get warm for those without power or heat sources. 

We’ve seen the chaos. We’ve heard the complaining. But we’ve looked for the helpers, and they’ve been easy to find. They’re everywhere, all across our communities. 

Those helpers are who we’re asking you to focus on this week, and in the coming weeks. Think of the people who have helped you during this weather emergency. Think of how you can help your neighbors. 

Maybe you can help chop firewood or deliver some kerosene for their heater. Maybe you can seek out one of the churches or American Legion halls or other organizations providing food and a place to get warm and donate your time, or your resources, or simply write them a check to offset the costs. 

Whatever you are best able to do, consider doing it. Don’t do it to post to Facebook for “likes.” Consider the privacy of the people you choose to help before you share specifics if you do share. But do what you can. 

If you’ve been helped by someone, and you’d like to thank them for their assistance, we’re asking you to please reach out and share your story. We’d like to help you say “thank you” to those who have been helpers. 

We’ll respect the privacy of anyone who shares and the privacy of those they share about. We won’t share anyone’s name if we’re asked not to. But, in the coming weeks, we want to focus on some of the positive stories to come out of this emergency. 

We want to do our part to shine a spotlight on the helpers, so that when your children are scared – or you need a little positive affirmation yourself – you can find them there.

We know that these times can be hard. We were already feeling isolated with the pandemic. With the loss of power and online connectivity, some of us are feeling it even more. But we’re also remembering what real neighborliness is about. 

This is a rough time. But it’s also time for two of the things Appalachian people excel at – self-sufficiency and taking care of each other – to really shine. And they have been.

The helpers are all around us. Look for them. Be them. 

The children will see, and remember. 

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