Giving back to the community

Uplifting endeavors demonstrate our commitment to one another

On the surface, a Gold Star ceremony, a library expansion groundbreaking, installing smoke alarms and an alcohol awareness campaign would seem not to have anything in common.

But in actuality, at the root of each of these endeavors, is the desire to make a positive difference in the lives of people, some we don’t even know.

Take for example the recent Gold Star ceremony. The American Legion Post 46, as well as other veterans, gathered to honor William McKibben’s service in Vietnam, recognizing that he paid the ultimate sacrifice, and to honor the service and commitment of his family 47 years after his death.

The ceremony, simple, understated and yet so powerful, demonstrated the respect and heartfelt admiration this community has for those in the military and the service they have provided to our country.

Then there was the recent efforts by a group of Marshalltown High School students with their “Sticker Shock” campaign.

These young people were the latest group of students who hope their public awareness campaign will change attitudes about selling and providing alcohol to minors.

They worked with some local retailers in placing stickers on cases of alcohol for everyone to understand the consequences and dangers of underage drinking.

In State Center, community members gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony of the expansion of the Gutekunst Public Library.

As our reporter, Sara Jordan-Heintz, noted in her story this past week, the library is not just a place to find books, but a community meeting place that nurtures more than 30 programs a month and represents a repository of ideas and community identity.

The project has been a large undertaking for the past several years. Grant money and private donations were key to making this effort a reality.

And then there were the volunteer efforts by the American Red Cross, the Marshalltown Fire Department, the Marshalltown Community College Student Senate and Americorps National Civilian Community Corps, who helped to install smoke detectors and provide fire and tornado safety materials to residents of the Sunset Village Trailer Court.

Their hard work was immediately well received. One resident posted her comments on Facebook: “This fine group of folks visited me … and checked my smoke alarms. They discovered that three of four alarms were unplugged (they are hardwired) and had no batteries in them. They generously replaced the batteries and plugged them in. Thank you so much for the visit and the information.”

Of course, this is just a sampling of some of the good work that is being done in Marshalltown and throughout Marshall County.

It’s these types of activities that pulls all of us together — people from all backgrounds and perspectives — united in our common humanity.

There are plenty of sad stories to report, but there are so many more uplifting ones that truly showcase just how giving our community can be.

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Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or jhutton@timesrepublican.com