By Tim Leeds
Every time I become convinced that most of humanity are selfish, egotistical people concerned only with themselves, I see something to change my mind.
It might be somebody turning in a lost wallet with a large amount of cash and credit cards, or it might be people turning out to help someone with a disastrous fire in their house, or it might be someone in a store really trying to help a customer. It might be as simple as a friendly smile and "Hello."
The odd thing is, I haven't thought that about people lately. Sure, I see plenty of nastiness. I do believe it's just human nature to look out for yourself. That's a leftover part of the survival instinct, I suppose. Sometimes people don't override the urge to take advantage of a situation to their own profit. The thing is, I keep seeing too many good things in our community to think most people are "not nice."
I can't really think of any single thing that stands out. It's just that, as a reporter, I'm hearing about so many nice things going on, people showing great evidence of charity and good will.
It amazes me that so many children in the elementary schools are willing to give up their gift exchanges to go shop for the needy in The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program. You would think eight- to twelve-year-old children would be more concerned about their own gifts than giving to charity. Programs to raise food and clothes and necessary items for the needy are also in abundance in the Havre schools.
Children from Lincoln-McKinley Elementary School raised 22 boxes of food for charity just before Thanksgiving. That's 22 boxes from one elementary school. And that shouldn't take the spotlight from the other schools that have been raising charitable donations as well. Even the Hill County Tavern Association is getting into the picture, as they have for several years now. This year HCTA is joining with the staff of Kitty Keepers to try to finish off the Angel Tree. HCTA is supplying the funds to let Kitty Keepers go out to Kmart this morning to try to make purchases for as many names as are left, all of them if funds allow.
The high school is also in the picture. Outside of holiday spirit such as caroling and concerts, holiday spirit is going much farther. Kay Nessland said she knew kids at the school wanted to something for the community, and she and Mary Wagner found a project for them with the Community Giveaway House.
The HHS Kids in Action have been raising cash, awareness about the giveaway house's need, and paying for the shop class to build them new collection boxes. They even plan to help fix up and paint the house next spring.
The just plain nice things students, faculty and staff of the schools, and the university, are doing would fill an entire edition of The Daily News. This short list is just a beginning.
And that leads to another area. People who dedicate their lives to just plain being nice and helpful. Ann Friesen and Ruth Nystrom have donated their time and work at the giveaway house since they helped start it 30 years ago. Nancy Evans has left the Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen after being with it 11 years, since it first started, while working to help care for residents at the Long Term Care Center at the same time for part of the period. And, she's leaving the kitchen to open a daycare for adults needing special care, to allow their caregivers a break. Members of The Salvation Army, HRDC, various service organizations and more unselfishly give time, effort and money all year long.
And this is some, just some, of the niceness I have discovered since I became a reporter. I can't think that most people are mean and nasty most of the time. I'm just seeing too many nice people and things too much of the time.
Don't think that people won't be mean and nasty. They will. I just hope I can remember the examples of people being nice, kind, charitable, and just good people, and model my own behavior after that instead.