Today as many of us reflect back on where we were, what we were doing and who told us, we have many stories to share with young and old. While we live in a small community in Southern Oregon, we have ties to that terrible tragedy and many more than I know of. Today, I remember Dr. Kerri Hecox’s brother who died in the World Trade Center buildings.
I also think of that morning myself. When I wake up each day, I generally turn on the news. That morning, I did not. I was in a rush for the annual United Way campaign kick-off. I had to make a run to the store for fruit and snacks for our meeting of 40 people to get busy in our community helping others. I was racing along. And while standing in the checkout line, someone said, “Did you hear?!” I was in shock. I called Jan Sanderson Taylor on our staff and wondered what we should do. We agreed to meet at the location and see what our volunteers wanted to do. Well, they wanted to do a good thing.
Our chair was Rick Rankin. He’s such a great human being. The room was filled with great people that day as is always the case at United Way. Everyone wanted to stay. And they all did. They all repeated they needed to be doing something good. I remember Reverend Ernestine Lee saying a blessing for our country. She made a lot of people feel better that day. I remember a young woman from Rogue Credit Union found out she was pregnant the day before. She wanted to remember she was volunteering that day and wanted to tell her child one day.
We went about the work of doing good. We moved more slowly. We cared for each other. We reached out a lot. We knew that while what we were doing mattered, being together mattered more.
That Saturday was our Day of Caring and we didn’t know if anyone would show. Again, the United Way committee and staff showed up and so did the volunteers. People wanted to do more good. It’s not a unique community response. People all over this great Nation wanted to do good that day and want to do good most days.
As we kickoff our annual campaign this Friday, 18 years later and with the Big Idea students in their final year of high school, I wonder if that young woman from the credit union might have a Big Idea kid. If she does, does that student know what their mom was doing that day? Maybe…
Let’s do some good. Onward,