Ever have one of those days where you wonder if what you're doing is really making a difference?
I imagine most people want to feel like the things they do are contributing, in some way, in some form, to make the world a better place for someone.
Admittedly, I have those days from time to time, wondering if what I'm doing as managing editor of Daily Reporter is having a positive impact on the community and the readers we serve.
From those of you who don't believe so, I hear you ... and I read you. Where we differ, when we disagree - your voice comes through loud and clear. But for the rest of you, the ones who sit back and read the paper, and find no fault in what you take in, we seldom hear from you. That's kind of how we judge things. If the phones aren't ringing off the hooks and my e-mail isn't filling up with angry rants, we must have done OK that particular day.
But it never answers the question: Did I, did we as a staff, make a difference?
Well Friday, my question was answered by a group of genuine difference makers.
For those of you who say we never have any good news in the paper, I point to our good friends at Shayla Bee.
Many times you cover a story because you learn about something, or receive notification about an event, activity or human interest opportunity. For the Daily Reporter, the outreach work levied by the leather-clad Shayla Bee biker gang and its funds isn't just a story. It's a project we have become intimately invested in.
Friday, several of the key players showed up in our offices, taking time away from their regular jobs, to say, "thank you" to the news staff and Publisher Paula Buenger for our support of what they do. I have to admit, I was floored. What WE do? We do our jobs. It is the folks at Shayla Bee who go above and beyond the call to try and bring financial relief and, more importantly, a caring body, to families going through the trauma of a critical childhood illness.
The Shayla Bee folks presented the paper with a beautiful plaque which will hold a special place of honor in our entry area for all to see - an unnecessary gesture by a group of people who openly see their own amazing generosity to those in a tremendous time or turmoil and need a selfish endeavor to make themselves feel good.
I returned to my office, told my staff, with tears in my eyes, "If you ever wonder if we make a difference, today we do."
Thank you to the folks at Shayla Bee for one more act of generosity. I'm sure you see the difference you make every time you rumble into town to offer hugs and help to families with few resources to turn to. Friday, your mission, while far less tragic in terms of circumstances, was equally appreciated. You caused some often hard hearts to melt a bit. Your actions continue to inspire us, as they do many in the community.