We got your back

21 11 2009

Between my junior and senior years of high school, I had the opportunity to attend a Rotary youth leadership camp at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y.
One of the “team building” exercises we had was getting people across a path on a set of tire swings, without touching the ground (it’s a lot harder than you think, given the space between the swings). It was a hot summer day, and a girl on my team got to the middle tire but couldn’t go further because she came down with a mild case of heat exhaustion and was just sitting on the tire swing.
Instead of stopping the exercise, the group leader suggested the team members who made it across and those who had yet to go figure out a way to help this girl make it the rest of the way. We put our heads together, and found a solution … one member who made it across, which happened to be me, would grab a water bottle, get back on the tire swings, get to this girl and help re-hydrate her. A big dude on the other side would come across, hook his feet in two tires at once, and help me literally carry our teammate-in-trouble across the course, one tire swing at a time.
It worked, but why am I boring you with this story?
Because I think it’s a perfect way to describe the people in our area when another member of our community gets stuck on the middle tire swing. For all the bitching and moaning people do when it comes to the many, many obstacles our community faces, they all seem to step up to the plate when one of our own runs into difficulty.
Cases in point:
* Last weekend, the basement of an Amsterdam church was packed with people willing to help the family of a teenager struggling with a brain tumor.
* Another recent benefit has taken place for another local teenager who was seriously injured in a car accident, and people came out in force to support his family. More events are scheduled to continue assisting this family, and I have no reason to believe that the level of support will drop.
* Recently, a benefit took place for my good friend Linda Eastman in Broadalbin, who was injured while walking her dog. I also know, beyond the dinner at the Sacandaga Bible Conference, a ton of people have stepped up to help a woman who’s done so much for the village of Broadalbin.
On Monday, another benefit will take place for Frank and Rebecca Persico in Amsterdam, a family whose home was damaged in a fire. You can get the details of what the benefit is all about by clicking HERE.
I don’t know Frank at all, and I only know Rebecca through her position at Amsterdam radio station WCSS-1490 AM and through Facebook.
But based on my very limited interactions with Rebecca, I do know that she is the type of person who personifies Amsterdam’s slogan of “Small City, Big Heart.”
In fact, before I even met Rebecca in person, she reached out when my family was going through a rough patch with my son, who was the victim of severe bullying at his school last year and had attempted suicide, and offered support in our efforts to raise awareness about this growing problem in our schools and how it impacts kids and families.
That meant a lot … especially when it came from someone who was a total stranger.
I’ve also seen how she’s willing to promote and help out on a ton of causes that help people within the community.
Well, now it’s this community’s turn to help out, and I have good reason to believe Monday’s benefit is another chance of people in our region to show their quality.

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