EDITORIAL: Keep the spirit of giving alive

By Observer editorial December 30, 2013 10:25 am

While so many of us awoke to full stockings and the smell of fresh goodies in the oven, others were hard at work. Before some of us had even gotten out of bed to see what Santa had delivered, firefighters were at the scene of a Christmas morning blaze in downtown La Grande.

The fire, which officials believe started around 8:30 a.m., was reported just before 
9 a.m. Seventeen firefighters spent a sizable portion of Christmas morning battling the fire at Millers Cabinet Shop on the corner of Greenwood Street and Jefferson Avenue. Most left around noon, but two investigators were around until about 4 p.m. Either way, these individuals gave up part of their Christmas in the interest of public safety.

At lunch time at the Presbyterian Friendship Center, just a few blocks away from the fire, volunteers for Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries hosted their annual all-community Christmas dinner. Dozens of people enjoyed a holiday meal because of those willing to sacrifice a portion of their holiday to help others.

Countless other stories of kindness and goodwill could be found across Eastern Oregon on Christmas Day, we are sure. But these two, so close together, show the true meaning of Christmas and community right here in La Grande.

Kudos to those men and women who put others before themselves. During a holiday season saturated with advertising and marketing ploys, Christmas Day is an important reminder that it is better to give than receive — even more so when you find emergency responders doing their best to protect people and their property, and volunteers who cook and serve those who may not have family to eat with or the ability to cook a Christmas Day feast anymore.

But let us not forget these acts of kindness as the New Year rolls around. Rather, let’s find a way to live in this spirit of giving year-round. Your community will thank you.