I thought about writing a profile of my friend Lee, whom I have known for years, as an example of someone who is making a difference.
Mr. Lee is a private pilot and a past president of Pilots for Christ, Inc an organization whose members donate their time, skills and use of their aircraft to transport people for medical care or for speaking and singing engagements in the case of missionaries, ministers and singers.
Lee agreed to be the subject of a profile, but I sensed he was uncomfortable at the idea of being singled out. I told him a day later I wanted to broaden the focus of the article and mention as many types of people as possible who make a difference. I emailed him about the change, and he replied,
“I like the idea of (writing about) those who work behind the scenes or in a low key manner. I had a friend in the Army who used to say, ‘Heroes know who they are.’ He meant that true heroes don’t need or desire attention.”
I experience this attitude when my dad and I watch the Nationals and the Redskins play on television. Now, we’re not big sports guys: we just like to watch a nice game played by pros.
My dad, a member of the Greatest Generation, does not appreciate athletes who act as if they have won a game all by themselves if they make a good play or put points on the board. “You’d think they were the only one playing,” he says as they celebrate.
He has a point. Without blockers, runners in football wouldn’t get very far. Without the rest of the team playing defense, a home run by a National wouldn’t win a game.
And so, I want to salute all those people who do their jobs quietly, without notice, and who make a difference. I will have to list them by categories since there are so many. I wish I could name every one, but such a list would run to hundreds of names.
People who work with children at church and school and at day care and special centers and at home, teaching them and loving them—
Those who use their musical gifts to lead and teach and inspire others and to bring us as participants and spectators a sense of beauty and awe—
Those who keep us safe from danger and anarchy, the fire fighters, police, security specialists and the judges, lawyers and clerks of the legal system–
Those who serve as local, state and national legislators and executives. We complain about them, but imagine the chaos without their work, experience, energy and care—
Those who work with local non-profits and arts organizations which make life better for so many people–
Local merchants who employ people and contribute to the community in any number of ways outside their businesses–
Employees who work cheerfully and give a full day’s work for a day’s pay, doing everything that makes our lives as we know them possible–
Members of the news media, both print and electronic who work hard to bring us the truth about events and situations and allow us to make informed decisions—
IT and tech people who keep us connected and working—
Owners, servers, and cooks at local restaurants who provide good food, good times and gathering places for families, friends and co-workers—
Those who drive and make deliveries for a living so we can live as we do—
Doctors who tend to young and old alike—
Nurses who provide a healing touch and professional care for their patients–
Those who work in retirement homes, assisted living facilities and nursing homes providing for the elderly—
Clergy who lead in worship, help people throughout the week and model humility, faith and service to their congregations and to the community—
Retired people who could play golf or watch television all day but choose to do something useful and helpful to others—
Volunteers and volunteer organizations from firefighters to hospital workers to library helpers to community, church and school volunteers—
Coaches, who impart lifetime skills and attitudes to their charges—
Local writers who share a common passion for the written word and support each other in their work–
If I didn’t list what you do to make a difference in this life and in this community, consider yourself recognized. And all those of you who make a difference—you know who you are! May your tribe increase!