By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
Last week, I was unexpectedly out of commission for a few days. Politics and this column was the last thing on my mind.
However, I did learn the value of expanded cable, a DVD player and a VCR. Passing the time with basic cable makes for a long day.
I felt that I had been placed in a re-education camp. News and editorial opinions were being constantly thrown at me. As tedious as this became, in the end, I was able to take time and reflect about what had been reported.
Reviewing it in my mind, I could come to only one conclusion: we are living in the greatest and most generous country on Earth.
In a season dedicated to the theme of “Peace on Earth, good will towards men,” scenes of the carnage, destruction and death in the Syrian Civil War filled the screen. Several other places in the Middle East and Africa were also featured.
Yet, in the good, old USA we are able to live our lives in relative safety, free from the destruction of war—thanks to our men and women in uniform. These patriots bravely stand firmly on the line that many shirk. Let us hope that next year during this season of peace, none of these patriots will be engaged in any conflict in any part of the world.
Then there are the men and women of good will who tend to the needs of the truly needy with kindness and generosity from their heart (as opposed to government-mandated charity). They seek no recognition for their acts of kindness; they actually avoid it. For these people, the feeling of goodness they experience is something fame and recognition could never recreate.
We have financial institutions and businesses that generously contribute throughout the year to many local fundraisers and local charities. In many cases, these companies and their employees get a mention in the media, but this is far short from the recognition they truly deserve.
These institutions provide a lifeline to many of our local charities. Without their support, many of these charities would cease to exist.
We have private organizations that continually give all year round. Veterans groups not only make sure that our shut-in and hospitalized veterans are not forgotten, but they also help local community charities. The Elks donate thousands of dollars to children’s cancer programs. The Shriners run a hospital free to the public.
Countless other organizations fund charities through private fundraising, including the Salvation Army, Hope Haven Gospel Mission, The Jesus Party and several other organizations.
Lastly, I am especially proud of Lewiston’s city employees. They continue to privately raise funds for different charitable organizations. Currently, they are raising funds to add more equipment designed specifically for handicapped children at Marcotte Park.
Lewiston firefighters distributed boots and coats to the truly needy living in our inner city. Lewiston school staff and City Hall employees continue to raise funds, collect clothing and other necessities in order to help 30 homeless students at the high school who value education. In our local schools, individuals with dire needs are helped by the teachers and staff at the school.
We are a nation of generous people, far from the image of greedy, self-centered and uncaring individuals painted by self-appointed community activists who make their living off the poor. Our community is extremely generous, unlike our community activists, who are long on rhetoric, but provide little or no financial solution to the problem.
To all the readers of this column, a happy and prosperous New Year.