You can find thebest people in thesmallest of towns

Eric Steinkopff - Managing Editor

Sometimes I run across things that touch my heart.

I recently heard an account of volunteers helping at food bank. One of the children said something about how he liked it when there was enough to eat because his “tummy didn’t hurt.”

I believe it’s one of God’s ways of reminding me what is important, when I’m paying the bills, getting maintenance done on my car, trying to figure out how to afford a vacation or a holiday.

But I have enough to eat, clothes to wear and a roof over my head.

Not everyone does. I need to be particularly thankful.

I do like to give in secret, wherever possible. Something about not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing.

The idea is that the intent of the gift should between the giver and his or her own perception of God. It really shouldn’t be for recognition, large or small, from the recipient, from family or or peers.

Some people, especially innocent children, through no fault of their own, just need warm clothes, shelter and food.

I would prefer to give directly, possibly to a church-based charity, even though I try to consistently tithe at church. But I’m not much on giving to organizations that need to take some of my donation for “administrative costs.”

I once read an account of a national store chain that spent more on advertising that it gave to Special Olympics than it actually gave to Special Olympics. I try to shy away from that situation — real or perceived — whenever possible.

I think I’d prefer give cash, or buy the clothes or food myself and give just that directly to someone who needs it, or even better yet, to a volunteer I can trust to anonymously get it to someone else, to spare the other’s dignity.

It also ensures that I’m not tempted to puff out my chest and try to look important as I “give.”

Teachers often know children who might be able to accept a gift of clothes and preachers can usually identify families who are hungry. I haven’t entirely figured out what I need to do about it during the upcoming holiday season, but at least I’m listening to the spiritual voice of reason and empathy.

Several years ago I read a story about a young child whose parents didn’t buckle him into a safety seat. There was an accident and the child was thrown around like a rag doll.

The adults survived, but the last words from the child were “Mommy, I hurt inside” and then he died.

That kind of story sticks with you and reminds you to treat children with caution, whether you’re bringing them with you home from the hospital as a newborn, or taking them to day care or even letting them walk down the sidewalk to school and hoping that everyone out there is responsible enough to be careful.

I hope everyone remembers that school is back in session this week.

Another thing that moved my heart recently was the story of a young family in Snyder. He works with horses as a farrier. I really admire those kind of people. They are typically salt of the earth, honest and hard working. You never work so hard as when you work for yourself in your own business.

The challenge is there isn’t much of a safety net. Except maybe a church family and the community to which you belong. I’ve already been accepted here — well, maybe more like tolerated as not too much of a nuisance.

When I served in the Marine Corps we had a general who used to say there was no better friend and no worse enemy than a Marine. Pretty strong stuff for those with an honorable heart.

But I moved around so much, that I don’t have anything like all the friends and family that Garrett Reed from Snyder has.

Much the same as the theme from Jimmy Stewart’s character George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

It takes Bailey’s guardian angel Clarence to remind him “No man is a failure who has friends.”

Eric Steinkopff

Managing Editor

Reach Eric Steinkopff at or 580-482-1221, ext 2072.

Reach Eric Steinkopff at or 580-482-1221, ext 2072.

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