When you’re in the news business, there is little need to have a calendar handy. We can pretty much tell the month, and sometimes the day, upcoming news events occur at the same time each year.
Whoever first realized that “nothing ever changes except the weather” must have been a news reporter.
Those are the thoughts that came to mind when I once again received the annual notice from Scout Leader Tom Stowell that the Hillsboro Scouts are revving up their engines for another “Scouting for Food” event.
I can’t tell you how many years this wonderful project has continued, but it was part of the program back when I was Cub Master about a century ago!
This Saturday, March 1, local Scouts will be announcing the food drive with door hangers all over the community. It’s a great reminder for folks who are happy to help their needy neighbors by filling a bag with non-perishable groceries that will be collected by the Scouts on the following Saturday morning, March 8, and distributed to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry.
We try to get a photo of the Scouts counting and sorting the items after they are gathered and brought to the library. It’s truly amazing and heart-warming to see the wonderful generosity of folks who share their food for this fine cause. It’s even more amazing to learn how needed it is and how quickly it is used.
These are tough times for many families who truly appreciate the assistance.
Please remember to put out your food donation on March 8, and if you happen to see some young Scouting volunteers helping the cause, give them a salute for being such a big part of the team.
I don’t recommend books very often because there is such a wide variety of different interests in the reading public.
But every once in a while I am fortunate enough to hear about a book that combines a truly gripping story with educational material needed by many folks who have had very little experience in dealing with handicapped people.
“Thunder Dog” by Michael Hingston, is the true story of a blind man, his guide dog, and the triumph of trust at Ground Zero.
Hingston, blind at birth, and his “best friend” Roselle, were in an office on the 78th floor of a World Trade Center building when the tower was slammed into by a plane skyjacked by terrorists on 9-11!
Led by the calm and incredibly courageous guide dog, Hingston and a fellow worker joined hundreds of people in walking down the 78 floors on an inner staircase, mostly in the dark, before running from the building as it came crashing down, covering them with a giant dust cloud and flying metal and glass shards!
The details of the escape are incredible as he reaches each landing, with the help of Roselle and other folks dealing with borderline panic.
Along the way, the reader is brought into the author’s life story that led to this moment of truth after he had conquered so many challenges, from riding a bike, to learning Braille, to earning a Master’s Degree in Physics and becoming a successful business man.
Roselle’s story is no less amazing and as it unfolds, I found myself admiring her almost as much as him. They are truly an unforgettable team and each step of the way contains emotion draining drama, coupled with memories of his life up to that point.
One stunning chapter deals with an encounter with firefighters going up the stairs on a rescue mission. Many who noticed the blind man stopped to ask if he needed any help and then gave the appreciative Roselle a pat on the head before continuing their brave journey up the stairs toward the inferno that she had just left.
Recalling the incident and the final result of the firemen’s incredible bravery with deep emotion, Hingston writes that Roselle gave them the last unconditional love they ever received in this world.
In addition to the lessons of the incredible 9-11 experience, the story is almost a text book on the everyday tragedies and triumphs of someone living in a sightless world.
I was emotionally worn out when the 9-11 story ended in triumph for both Hingston and Roselle. However, the book has more to teach, including chapters on understanding and helping the blind, along with their guide dogs.
It’s one of the most worthwhile books I have ever read, and I will never see a guide dog supplying a lifeline to a best friend, without thinking about Michael Hingston and his Thunder Dog!