Honoring with Service

by Melissa Brunner

I was up early Friday to take part in the kickoff celebration for the Nancy Perry Day of Caring. What a site! A sea of volunteers decked out in "Live United" t-shirts, ready to flood the community with hands and hearts ready to serve.

The United Way has organized this event for years. Recently, it's taken on special significance since it usually takes place around 9/11. Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, Americans have been encouraged to honor the legacy of those who lost their lives by engaging in service to our communities - pull together to help each other now, just as the nation came together to help each other through those tragic days, when we all felt so vulnerable.

Topeka should be applauded for how it has embraced this legacy, before the attacks and especially today. On this day of caring, more than 850 volunteers took part in 82 projects at 38 agencies, giving hours of time that, in dollars, would translate to nearly $65,000. "Live United" volunteers pulled weeds, painted walls, carried boxes, stuffed envelopes, made blankets and much more.

Of course, the agencies at which these tasks are performed benefit, but something else happens when you see the volunteers prepare to embark on their assignments. The spirit of cooperation and camaraderie that exists adds value beyond any dollar figure. It plants a seed that grows beyond just this single day. It makes me want to "live united" even more!


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