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Commentary

Commentary: You People Are Something Else
By Mitch Traphagen mitch@observernews.net
Sep 29, 2005 - 7:11:00 PM

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Wow. Sometimes that's all I can say: Wow. I have to tell you — you people are amazing. I am happy, proud and very fortunate that you are my neighbors.

Last week I ran a story about a family that had been living in a condemned home for several years. With their own hard work and the help of Hillsborough County Housing and Code Enforcement, the family moved out of the condemned home and into a new house that had been built on their lot. In the article, I had mentioned that they weren't able to furnish the house yet. In fact, the total sum of their furniture consisted of a dining room table.

Particularly these days, there are sad stories everywhere — there is literally heartbreak shown nightly on the news. But the family I wrote about didn't ask for help, they weren't putting on a sob story nor did they complain about not having furniture — they were just happy to have a dry and comfortable home. In other words, I think they were so busy counting their blessings for what they did have that they didn't spend much time worrying about what they didn't have.

But you worried about it. The calls and emails began as soon as the paper hit the streets. People began to offer helping hands to this family that they had never met. People wrote and called to offer furniture and anything else they could do to make that family's lives a little better. One woman who emailed had just moved into Sun City Center two weeks ago — with people like her moving in, perhaps all of the growth will be OK after all.

This isn't the first time this has happened. I have seen the residents of South County step forward to make a difference after reading a story in the newspaper. Yet it always seems to catch me by surprise. I have to tell you, there is nothing quite like the surprise of incredible, selfless generosity.

Just this week, Manuel Acevedo of Code Enforcement was in touch with the family and let me know that yes, the family would very much appreciate your help. I will call or email each person who has contacted us. And when I do get in touch with you, please realize that the 'thank you' I say or write at the end will literally be from the bottom of my heart. You are all remarkable and I am very grateful to be living amongst people like you.



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