Augusta is a geographical collection of buildings – businesses, houses schools and shops. What makes it a community is all the people who live here (and this newspaper that brings them together, of course).
What makes it a better community, however, is the hundreds of people who give through their jobs, churches, civic clubs, agencies or volunteer efforts.
The people who give their time and talent to causes that enrich others. They give it one dollar, one conversation, one hour at a time.
You benefit from their efforts every day – on a road cleaned by a civic group, in a family given a blanket and a place to stay by an agency after a fire, in a soup kitchen staffed by a church group, in reading programs staffed by volunteer grandparents in area elementary schools or in a one-person crusade to keep kids from gangs.
Some of their efforts are singular acts out of the spotlight. But it says volumes about our community that it shines the light on these efforts.
Examples are all of the annual winners of the American Red Cross Heroes awards the past two years.
Or Laura Newman, a nurse who performed CPR on a 2-year-old girl at Augusta Mall this summer. Or Austin Smith, David Barrett and Zoe Snook. The three employees at Evans Fitness Club who saved a client who had a heart attack while working out at the club. All four were honored by the CSRA Trauma Society on Friday.
Others lead or work with large organizations and churches. You often read about their good works and charitable deeds in the newspaper.
LaVerne Gold, of the United Way, and Pastor Roger Gardner come immediately to mind.
Gold is the president and CEO of the United Way of the CSRA. The United Way helps fund 44 programs for 23 agencies in our area and is in the middle of its annual fundraising campaign with a goal of $4.1 million.
Gardner is the pastor of New Hope Worship Center and one of the leaders of the Bridge Ministry – a cooperative effort of area churches to feed and minster to the homeless in the downtown area.
And then there are people whose efforts are out of the spotlight, but whose work enriches our community by their dedication – many in ways we never see or will never know about.
We are hoping to tell their stories. To highlight those acts of problem solvers. Those who look for opportunities to do good and do it.
On Sunday you will read the story of Haley Zielinski, a woman who gives her time to the Augusta Animal Shelter. Beyond the walking and bathing and routine care you’d expect from a shelter worker, Haley started an effort to match dogs with veterans.
We need your help to turn this Sunday story into an ongoing effort. So, please let us know about those people out there making Augusta a better place to be.