Sometimes service is giving someone a hot meal on Thanksgiving Day. Sometimes it's donating one's time through a service club. Often service is given in quiet ways that will never find their way onto the news pages.
Today we acknowledge the generosity of those who willingly help others. You know who you are.
We're grateful for Lee Haberling and his daughter, Lucinda Haberling-Welch. They shared a surprise a little while back that was more than just coincidence.
Lee, a Kiwanian, asked Lucinda, a Rotarian, to accompany him to the Kennewick Kiwanis Club annual dinner.
It was a surprise to Lee when his daughter was called upon to escort him to the awards table. There, Lee was presented with the Kennewick Kiwanis Club's "Man of the Year" award. It is quite an honor, but Lee and Lucinda started laughing.
Why? Because just weeks before, Lucinda was named "Rotarian of the Year" by Columbia Center Rotary Club.
How does one get nominated for such an honor? It isn't by sitting on your backside and letting others do the work.
Lee, 81, chairs the Kiwanis' SIGN program. The Surgical Implant Generation Network -- is an orthopedic program launched by Dr. Lewis Zirkle Jr. It is a project to restore mobility to Third World victims of accidents (there are lots of motorbike collisions in developing nations). During the past two years, Lee has raised enough to build two hospitals overseas.
Lucinda was appointed to her Rotary Club's board as the educational/vocational director. Awarded a district grant, she raised matching funds to support New Horizons High School's teen parent "READY? for Kindergarten" program. The money was used to purchase tools, supplies and specialized training for teen parents at New Horizons, so they could gain understanding and knowledge in the importance of reading to their children.
Members of civic clubs joke among themselves about which organization is better. It's all in fun.
But what do Kiwanians and Rotarians have in common? "Haberlings!" the father-daughter said, laughing.
Coincidence? Not on your life. They were both in the right place at the right time doing the best they could for the community.
This father and his daughter share more in common than belonging to service organizations. They share a willingness to put in the extra time to make a difference locally and internationally.
iPads for life skills
Most kids -- of all ages -- want an iPad. For many, it's on the list of new, fun gadgets we would like to have.
For students in the Mid-Columbia's life skills classes, it is much more than a toy.
The tablets are loaded with special applications that help the students find and keep jobs and become independent.
Modern Living Services donated nine tablets to Tri-City high schools. It's a gift that is much appreciated.
Junior Achievement grant
Another financial boon to Mid-Columbia kids is a $10,000 grant from New York Life Foundation awarded to Junior Achievement.
Junior Achievement will use the money to increase financial literacy and help kids with work programs. It's a strong program that prepares kids for the workplace.
This program is especially targeted toward Hispanic and economically disadvantaged teens. Having good work skills and confidence in your employability helps our community.
Understanding personal finances is something many of us could work on. Hmm, could they offer this same course of study to our state and federal lawmakers? Just wondering.
Another program helping put people to work is Goodwill's Move Forward, which focuses on people already in the system. It takes people who are about to lose their welfare benefits and helps get them working.
It's great to give students a path toward a vocation. But it's vital to find work for adults, many of whom have dependents counting on them. Right now.
Thanksgiving seems to bring out the charitable tendencies in people. Perhaps it's because all of us have so much to be thankful for. Even those of us without much by Western standards could draft an extensive list of things we're grateful for.
In the case of the Richland Salvation Army, the volunteers outnumbered the guests almost two to one. We doubt that means people aren't hungry in the Mid-Columbia, but it does seem to say there are many generous hearts here.