When it comes to hope, is your glass half full or half empty?

Ken Vance, Editor
Ken Vance, Editor

This isn’t the only column I’ve written this week. It’s just the only one I’ve chosen to publish.

At least, for now.

The first column I penned this week concerned things going on in our country that I’m troubled by. After writing it, I struggled for two days over what to do with it. Will it do any good? Will it change anyone’s mind and make others more civil to one another? Or, will it just contribute to this ever-widening divide that we are currently experiencing?

Call me soft. Challenge my courage. Whatever. I chose, at least for this week, to take a different path. Instead of whining and complaining about what is irritating me these days, I chose to write about things I’m witnessing that warm my heart. Things that give me hope. I’ve been accused before of living in a Pollyanna world of my own creation. I won’t deny that I would like to, but don’t worry. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for me or anyone else for that matter.

It’s somewhat of a cliche, I realize, to say that our country and its citizens are at their best when times are the worst. But, this week I’ve been reminded that it’s actually not a cliche. It’s reality.

I hope that you have been as moved as I have been by the response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston, TX, area. While I’m complaining about our current heat wave here in Clark County, residents of the Houston area have literally been fighting for their lives. I’m sure you’ve seen the reports. I couldn’t imagine finding myself in the middle of a tragedy like that.

I hope you’ve also seen the reports of the legions of folks who have tried to help those who have been hit the hardest by this tragedy. As most of you know, my journalism background is in sports. It’s no longer my primary professional focus, but my love of sports occupies a great deal of my personal time.

With that explanation, I want to share with you some recent examples of humanitarian efforts that have warmed my heart and give me hope about our country. Houston Texans football player J.J. Watt — one of my personal favorites — immediately came to the relief of those in need in southeastern Texas.

SportsPulse: Athletes, past and present, have come together in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to help generate millions of dollars for those affected and recovering from the devastating storm. USA TODAY Sports

Watt started a fundraising effort through his foundation (jjwfoundation.org) with the goal of raising $200,000. He hit that goal in two hours. He reportedly donated $100,000 of his own money to the cause. At the time of this writing, his efforts have now raised more than $13 million for the relief effort and his goal is now $15 million.

Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has donated $10 million to the relief effort and owners of the Houston Astros contributed $4 million. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his team held a telethon that has raised $2.3 million to date, including $1 million from Jones himself.

Those are just a few of the stories emanating from the sports world. I can hear some of the more cynical of you saying, “so a bunch of rich guys wrote checks, big deal.’’ I understand that sentiment, but it is a big deal. They’re big checks and their efforts entail more than just writing checks.

The New York Mets organization put on their boots and asked for something they could do in person. They were directed by local officials to a place where they could help out and they insisted that their efforts not be covered by the media.

On a local level, Prairie High School graduate Chad Doing was a part of iHeart Radio’s efforts to fill a semi-truck trailer full of supplies headed for the Houston effort. I’m sure there are hundreds of other stories of members of the Clark County community getting involved.

Nate Chumley, owner of America’s Family Diner, auctioned off a hand-painted skateboard honoring American veterans during the live auction portion of the event. Photo by Alex Peru
Nate Chumley, owner of America’s Family Diner, auctioned off a hand-painted skateboard honoring American veterans during the live auction portion of the event. Photo by Alex Peru

On another note of an event with a lower profile, but also an example of something that should give us some hope in humanity, be sure to read our story (written by Alex Peru) about the Kings for Cops event held locally.

A fundraising barbecue was held at America’s Family Diner Thursday in Woodland. Organizers of the program will host police officers from Dallas, TX, and Baton Rouge, LA, as well as several other cities here in Washington on a three-day salmon fishing trip on the Columbia River.

So, choose for yourself what you want to be passionate about this week. I have chosen to set the venom and vitriol down for the time being and focus on some things that give me hope that maybe, just maybe, things aren’t as bad as they seem.

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