By Holly Glen Gearhart
Small towns often get a bad rap from city dwellers; small town folk don’t get much of a voice in “Big Media,” or wide circulation newspapers and national news affiliates such as ABC, NBC and CBS. What I have found during my career of working for big and small media outlets, including newspapers and magazine, is that, not unlike the fabled squeaking wheel, the loudest voice gets all the coverage.
This is why I felt an act of kindness in Monroe was worth mention in our own media outlet, the Monitor. The following story was sent to me via email from Joe Selling:
May 23 was rainy on and off as the weather up here tends to be; anyone can get caught in a rainy downpour, but most of us simply run to the shelter of our cars or the overhanging roof on the hardware store or grocery. However, for some, getting to shelter is not that easy.
An elderly citizen was slowly making her way along a busy street using her walker, walking alone on the roadside near the busy 154th and 179th intersection, when the rain began. She had no jacket to shield her, according to Selling, when a member of the East County Senior Center, who wished not to be named, quickly moved in to action and called the senior center to see if someone could help.
The senior center director, Marc Avni, was called into action and rushed to the aid of one of their elder members. Marc drove over to where the then-soaked and cold lady was last seen, found her and spirited her back to her warm home across the street from the senior center.
That simple act, that “random act of kindness” if you will, took little effort, yet may have made a world of difference in the health of another who was caught in the rain; who was cold, wet and unable to get shelter from the weather on her own, but who now was out of harm’s way.
That rain shower could have even set the stage for hypothermia. According to The University of Maryland, hypothermia can even happen from accidental exposure to cold. “Hypothermia can cause an irregular heartbeat, which can lead to heart failure and death,” said a university report. “More than 700 deaths occur annually from hypothermia in the United States.”
“Involved Monroe citizens voluntarily taking the time to make sure their fellow citizens, especially the more vulnerable ones, are kept safe is not really ‘news,’” said Selling. “No one seemed even remotely surprised; in fact, when I talk with people, they seem to take this sort of occurrence for granted. That makes me smile.”
Princess Diana once wrote, “Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward,” and Gandhi encouraged us to “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
What small offering can you do today or tomorrow to bring change to the world by lightening the load for another? It is certainly food for thought.