Our Voice: We're grateful for those who plan and give

December 19, 2013 

It's the time of year when people are especially generous with their resources, even when those resources are limited. We're grateful to live in a community that cares about others.

We're also grateful to live in a community that is looking to the future. The decisions we make, or neglect, now will determine the future of the Mid-Columbia.

Let's be wise.

Port of Kennewick

Congratulations to Ice Harbor Brewing Co. for being named 2013 Friend of the Port. The vision the Port of Kennewick has for Clover Island is exciting but will take some solid private/public partnerships to succeed.

The relationship between the port and Ice Harbor is a good example of how things can work and a catalyst to get things moving on the rest of the island and Columbia Drive.

It's an exciting time for growth in the Mid-Columbia and we all help shape that future.

Badger Mountain

The public was invited to a meeting last week to help make plans for Badger Mountain -- another opportunity to be involved in planning for the future.

Climbing Badger Mountain is a popular activity -- on hot days and rainy days and early mornings and late nights.

The six miles of trails attracted 187,000 climbers last year. It's an impressive attraction.

It's a community asset. We're glad to see the community buying into it. If you missed the meeting, you can still comment at badgerplan@co.benton.wa.us.

Season of giving

We could devote this entire column, and several more pages, acknowledging the generosity of people in the Mid-Columbia.

We can't do that because we don't have the space. We also are hampered by the fact that not all gifts are given publicly. So whether you participated in a toy drive at work or an angel tree at your church or donated in one of a hundred other ways, thank you.

Here are a couple of examples of how individual donations add up pretty quickly.

Perhaps one of the better-known gift campaigns is the Marine Corps Reserves' Toys for Tots. This year, Tri-City reservists are getting a big boost from the vitrification plant. Employees at the construction site have donated thousands of toys and $34,000 for the cause. Some of the money also will support the Local 598 pipefitters' Bikes for Tykes program, which assembles more than 1,000 bikes for the Toys for Tots project. High school students help put the bikes together. Griggs/Ace Hardware makes sure the bikes are ready by Christmas and Vitners Logistics delivers them.

That's a lot of people working together.

Another example of communities coming together is the 450 children who will be receiving toys and clothing this Christmas thanks to the employees of Energy Northwest.

It's a generous gesture, one that the company has been making for more than 30 years.

Thank you to all.

Party gifts

Along those lines, Robin and Jim Morris of Richland are hoping to inspire a new tradition of donating food for the food banks instead of giving gifts.

The Morrises celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with 140 of their friends who brought almost 700 pounds of food to help feed the needy.

It sounds like a lovely way to celebrate. After 50 years together, the happy couple are likely to already have anything they need.

And, according to Kuki Benson from the Tri-Cities Food Bank, every donation is needed.

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