Groups you want to join and one you hope you don't

Wear a life vest

The Richland Rod and Gun Club wants you to wear a life jacket every time you are on the water. They have taken it upon themselves to remind you of all the reasons it's a good idea.

You will start seeing these reminders at boat launches around the Tri-Cities.

They've put their money into the project with the hope it will save your life.

Everyone knows life vests save lives -- but only if you wear them.

The Columbia River is notorious for its typically cold temperature and strong undercurrent -- both make it hard to stay on top of the water.

We appreciate the local dive and rescue team members, but really prefer not to send business their way. Sadly those calls usually turn into a recovery effort, not a rescue.

We echo the rod and gun club's sentiments -- wear a life jacket -- and offer them a pat on the back for the project.

We see a lot of projects that are launched this way -- someone recognizes a need and sets about meeting it.

It happens frequently in the Tri-Cities, and we're grateful every time it does.

One long swim

One person who can testify to the river's temperament is Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller.

Don't let his smile in the photo gallery on www.tricityherald.com mislead you.

He's only swimming in the top few inches of the water, warmed by the sun during an unseasonably warm spell, so we're going to discount that he swam 6 miles without a wetsuit.

You can also see from the photos that he clearly swam with a support crew. Really, folks, don't try this on your own.

You may, however, follow his philanthropic ideal of raising money for a cause.

Miller trained for a long distance swim, then had to withdraw from the competition at the last minute. Rather than sulk, he found a way to help someone else.

He arranged a solo swim, complete with sponsorship funds going to My Friends Place, a new homeless shelter for teens.

Serving others is no doubt the greatest cure for self-pity.

Women Helping Women

There is no shortage of opportunities to serve in this community. Every week there is a cause to support. We are glad to see this kind of selflessness in the Mid-Columbia.

One way to hone your philanthropic skills (especially for those of us who don't want to swim the Columbia) is to attend the Women Helping Women luncheon Oct. 24.

As the name implies, it's a chance for women to help both themselves by giving to others and to aid programs in our community.

In addition to lunch and listening to a world-class speaker (this year it's wife of comedian Chris Rock, Malaak Compton-Rock), attendees are expected to donate at least $100.

That money then goes directly and completely back into our community. The money helps women and children in the community, and unlike many other charities, Women Helping Women isn't afraid to help startup programs get off the ground.

The goal is to have 1,000 people at the luncheon. Get a table together with friends or co-workers. Reservations are due by Oct. 10. Call 736-1946.

Time of Remembrance

Another group held a vigil this week in West Richland. It's one that you definitely don't want to be a member of. It's the parents and family members of those who have died in serving our nation in the Middle East.

About 500 names of deceased were read and 150 large banners with photos were on display last weekend.

The event is called a Time of Remembrance.

We salute these soldiers. We grieve for their loss. We pray for their families.

And we recognize it's still unbearably heartbreaking.

It's a hard, hard thing to lose a child. Something no one should have to go through for any reason.

Saying thanks seems superficial compared to the depth of the commitment and the loss, but for a lack of something better, "Thank you."