It is difficult to celebrate Labor Day weekend when so many of our nation's citizens are laboring just to survive.
Our nation seems vast and impersonal until something like Hurricane Katrina punches us in the nose. Then it all gets personal; no matter where they are, virtually everyone knows someone who has been affected by this killer storm.
Columbia County always shines when such emergencies arise. Try these names on as shining examples: Lorraine Lynch, Ed Campbell, Jill Harpe, Gwen Wood, Bob Crutchfield, Kathy Crutchfield, Jan Deasis, Susan Hayden, John Harlan, Margaret Williams, Stephanie McWhorter, Joe Matosian, John Tucker.
These ordinary citizens volunteered for Columbia County's Community Emergency Response Team. Workers and retirees, and a couple of students, have gone through this remarkable program to learn the basics of rescuing a community in need.
Most of them probably thought it would be our community they'd help; that's what training exercises emphasize, such as the county's recent mock emergency.
Instead, the 13 CERT members and one dive team volunteer listed above are preparing to give up their Labor Day, and more, to assist the victims of Katrina.
They go as selfless, well-trained volunteers ready to lend a hand. But they also go as ambassadors from a caring community.
Columbia County has lots of things to brag about, from the recent recognitions that have come from national magazines, to our students' stellar performance on the SATs, to a quality of life that is the envy of our neighbors.
All those things are great. But when it comes right down to it, Columbia County's people are its greatest asset, and these heroic CERT volunteers are among the finest examples of our people at work - even on Labor Day.
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