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Mike’s Musings– Our communities give and give and give

Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor

I have always lived by the basic creed, “It is always better to give than receive.” After working days on this year’s Christmas Wish program, I can honestly say most of Mid-Michigan believes the same.

Remember now my newspapers have been coordinating this program for years. We solicit needy families, ask them to write letters to this newspaper explaining in detail what they need, and then trying to fulfill the wishes for as many families as possible.
This year was the best ever. Let me rephrase that. This year was simply incredible. In the past we might have had individuals- maybe one or two, contribute $200 checks. This year we had two people- one from Clare, and one from Marion, both wishing to remain anonymous, that came to the office and handed over a $1000. Many more checks came in for lesser amounts. And then there were the businesses- probably close to one hundred that participated with purchased advertising- with a portion going to the Christmas Wish program.

Talk about Christmas spirit. I can’t describe the generosity that the people in the communities we serve, have. Downstate, where I published newspapers for a couple dozen years, can’t hold a candle to this area. Heck there’s so much more money down there. But the people here, they give and give, and really care about those that are down in their luck.

I’ve always been amazed at the number of benefits that our held for victims of tragedy in our communities. Downstate these benefits are few and far between. Here they happen every time a friend or family runs in to bad times.

And at these benefits I see ordinary people contributing so much- probably well beyond their means, because they care. They are saddened by the course of events that have brought on the benefit. They feel good about themselves if they can give to some one that needs it more than them.

I don’t want to call downstaters greedy, but most do not share this attitude. Many are caught in the rat race where money and material items mean more, than sharing what you have with others. We are different here.

I was taken aback, when I got a call from the mother of six and five year old boys. I was an acquaintance, and also knew her boys fairly well when they were younger. She said, “Mike, my boys want to make sure one of the family’s on your Christmas Wish has a great Christmas dinner. Can we bring by a turkey, potatoes and all the fixings for you to distribute?”

Of course my answer was an emphatic yes. But I got to thinking how cool it was for this mother to be instilling this kind of thoughtfulness in her kids at such an early age. These youngsters truly wanted to make sure others had a family dinner, much like they were going to have. Now that’s what I call Christmas spirit.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all those individuals and businesses who were a part of the Christmas Wish program. Literally hundreds of you helped, and in many cases, want to remain anonymous. On behalf of the many families we were able to share your money, food, clothes, wood and other items with, thanks so much.

Additionally, I must extend appreciation to newspaper staffers who spent extra time organizing this mass giveaway. In particular I single out Amber Howe, who spearheaded this year’s program and was the main contact with most of the families that received your donations.

God Bless You and All, and I hope 2014 is a better year for everyone involved.

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