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A good day

If Hancock County isn’t careful, it could get a reputation as being a caring, giving community. Of course, that’s been the case for years, but this past weekend reinforced it.
Saturday brought out our best and should give us all another reason to be proud of where we live.
The accomplishments are still being tallied, but it’s safe to say the Backyard Mission Trip, the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and the Walk MS, which all took place on Saturday, were a success. Add up the people who volunteered, or participated, or otherwise donated to one of the causes, and the numbers would be in the thousands.
Add those who benefited and the efforts are even more remarkable.
The difficulty in measuring the impact of such events, and other ones that will take place later this year, comes in determining just how far the benefit extends. Is it the beneficiary of the event that gains the most or the one who put forth the effort to help?
Some studies have suggested those who volunteer their time or generously support worthwhile causes tend to live longer and enjoy fuller lives.
But imagine all the smiles and emotions of those who were on the receiving end on Saturday.
It was hard to drive very far without seeing a fluorescent-green T-shirt, like those worn by the Backyard Mission Trip volunteers. They were everywhere in the county, helping complete 214 acts of kindness, large projects and small ones, for residents who didn’t have to show proof of income or economic hardship to qualify. All they had to do was ask.
In all, 1,300 people gave up a day of working in their own home or yards to make a difference to strangers by helping trim an overgrown shrub, building a wheelchair ramp, or painting a garage.
There’s no way to measure the goodwill that came out of the effort, but the county looks better, and many feel better as a result.
Other acts of generosity weren’t so immediate, but will in the future. Money raised through sponsorships of those who walked in red high heels and tacky flip-flops will benefit victims of domestic violence. Meanwhile, awareness of multiple sclerosis was raised and funds generated for research of the disease by the more than 300 people who trekked Main Street.
Saturday’s kindness and fundraising efforts won’t be the only opportunity to give back or pay forward. The United Way of Hancock County’s Days of Caring runs through Friday. There will be numerous other walks, runs, drives and benefits held during the spring and summer.
Such events help extend the good work that area churches and agencies are already doing.
We urge everyone to volunteer or otherwise support a cause of their choice. Doing so makes us all stronger.

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