Kind acts, caring people warm cold December days

Oh that it could be December all year long.

We don't know if there are more good deeds in December or more people are reporting them.

Either way, since Thanksgiving we have received more Thankful Thursday letters than we have space for in the paper. What a great problem to have.

Keep those emails (and compassion) coming.

These letters speak to the generosity of friends and strangers. You can read them on this page. Some are quite touching.

And we're sure that for every letter we get, there are plenty more acts of kindness that go unreported.

Here's a few of the things in the community we're thankful for.

Mesa fundraiser

Nearly half of the residents of Mesa turned out -- with their wallets -- for a dinner at the elementary school.

We suspect the $4,500 they raised for Frederico Alvarado does a lot more for the man battling cancer than help with the bills.

Alvarado has been unable to work for several months while he has been undergoing chemotherapy.

Things haven't been looking good for him. But now, to borrow a phrase from the Beatles, he "gets by with a little help from his friends."

We have all heard there are things money can't buy. In each of our lives that list would soon grow long.

A room full of people who care about you is certainly one of those things. And when they open their hearts -- and their bank accounts to you it speaks volumes.

Our thoughts are with Alvarado and his family. And to all the good people of Mesa.

Pro bono work

Legal work, like medical bills, can be costly in two ways. First off, the fees can be high. But secondly, if you don't get the right help -- medically or legally -- your situation can get much worse in a hurry.

It's especially difficult when people can't afford the service of a professional, and they also can't afford to go without one.

So to all the attorneys in our area who take on even one pro bono case a year, thank you. To the three who were honored by their peers at the Benton-Franklin Legal Aid Society, we add our appreciation to theirs.

Thank you to Jason Celski, Alan Gunter and Don Powell.

And to everyone who gives their time and talents to a good cause. Even if you're not a lawyer, thank you. You know who you are.

Patented idea

Guadalupe Olvera doesn't fit the stereotype of an engineer/inventor from the Tri-Cities. The 64-year-old grandmother of seven had an idea, and after five years she told someone about it.

Then it was another 21/2 years and thousands of dollars in fees to secure the patent for her toe dryer, designed to help diabetics care for their feet.

It's inspiring to see the help Olvera got along the way from a handful of mentors, including Gene Holand at Colombia Basin College, small-business developer Bruce Davis, designer Troy Butler and inventor Richard Bogert.

It's also inspiring to see someone stick with her dreams for all those years.

Dreams are good. We should all nurture one or two -- especially ones that seem way out there.

12 days of kindness

Every December we see an uptick in random acts of kindness. Even the Grinch was at a loss to describe it. But perhaps some of it, this year at least, is attributed to one woman being insulted at work.

Crystal DeCoursey came up with an excellent response to nursing her hurt feelings. She turned to Facebook and started a kindness campaign. (Unfortunately most of us probably react a little bit differently when we're mistreated.)

So far, nearly 50 people have joined DeCoursey's event.

The followers do one kindness on the first day and two on the second on up to 12 on the 12th. They don't report to anyone. They're not asking for recognition.

They just quietly go about doing good.

It would be fun to track someone's good deeds and see the differences their efforts make. Often the person doing the good deed never knows what came of it.

Of course you don't need permission to forgo a grudge or make that phone call to the friend you've lost touch with. But it doesn't hurt to be reminded.

Sometimes it takes a concerted effort to see what is right in front of us.

That effort won't necessarily end when the month is over.

We could very well see this trend continue into the new year.