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COLUMN: Washingtonians Serving One Another

December 26, 2016
Weekly Column and Op-Ed

The great philosopher Bob Hope once said, “my idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” He has a point. This time of year, Christians celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true ‘reason for the season,’ as we say, and the Christmas season reminds us to serve our neighbors. Part of what makes this season so special, beyond families traveling long distance to gather together, or the music of Bing Crosby in the background while enjoying a roaring fire, is the love that people in Central Washington show one another in their communities. There are so many recent examples in our cities and towns that I wanted to share a few.

In Kennewick, a school bus driver and veteran from the U.S. Army noticed a little boy on his route who did not have gloves or a hat in freezing temperatures. The driver contacted a school administrator to find the little boy’s classroom and gave him a new pair of gloves and a hat to keep him warm.

In Ritzville and several cities in the Mid-Columbia, local law enforcement participated in a community service effort called “Shop with a Cop.” The officers accompanied children to shop for Christmas presents, in the process giving the children the opportunity for a positive interaction that builds trust with law enforcement.

This year, the Union Gospel Mission in Yakima has provided 45,000 ‘bed nights’ this year in addition to more than 155,000 meals.

In Moses Lake, local firefighters executed “Operation Warm” to give 120 winter coats to children in need at local elementary schools.

Okanogan Middle School students collected food, gift certificates, and donations to give meals to fourteen local families as part of a “Thanks and Giving” project.

In my hometown of Sunnyside, a local church recently prepared turkey dinners to feed 100 hungry and homeless people in the community.

One of the best parts of representing the Fourth Congressional District is the opportunity to highlight positive stories about our community that inspire people from Oroville in Okanogan County all the way to Touchet, Walla Walla County.

If you have a story about someone you know in our community who deserves recognition, I invite you to send it to my Yakima office at 402 E. Yakima Avenue, Suite #445, Yakima, WA 98901.

We remember the men and women in the Armed Forces who are stationed around the world and unable to spend the holidays with their families. We are grateful for their service, which allows us to celebrate the blessing of freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

In Scripture, Jesus says, “truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” That is the true Christmas spirit. Our community thrives when we serve each other as these local examples attest, and we do not have to wait for the holidays. I hope you enjoy this blessed season with your loved ones, and that you look forward to a joyous new year.