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June 21, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
We can’t escape bad news.
When we turn on the television, switch on the radio or flip through magazines, we’re often bombarded with the negative: violence, drug abuse, sickness, death. The words and images seep into our brains, where they can marinate and affect our outlooks on life.
Life can, indeed, seem painful and senseless at times. But there is a flip side that’s filled with beauty and hope. Despite what the media might have led you to believe, there are still people in this world who go out of their way to lessen the bitterness and increase the sweetness in others’ lives.
The Columbians whose stories appear in this week’s feature do just that — albeit in very different ways.
Bill Poore helped form Columbia’s American Red Cross blood donation center and has given blood himself more than 200 times. Graduate student Jimmie Jones gave a 16-year-old a new home and a new life. Gabe McCrary tutors the children of refugees. Mother and daughter Jeanie and Sarah Byland raise funds and awareness for the Special Olympics. Other community members honor their comrades, make the planet healthier and serve as positive role models for youths. These exceptional individuals make great personal sacrifices for the well-being of others. For them, service is a way of life, and they freely give their time, money, energy and ideas.
It’s important for media outlets to inform the public about serious problems in their cities, states and the wider world. After all, we must first become aware of issues if we are ever to resolve them. But it’s also important to pause and take notice of all the good that’s happening around us.