Vail Valley: Why we gave, and will give again |

Vail Valley: Why we gave, and will give again

Did you ever wonder what happens to the loose or spare change you drop into the Salvation Army bucket as you rush in or out of the grocery store? Did you ever think those crumpled dollar bills and quarters could possibly end up 2,500 miles away?

Although it will be a long time before the devastation in Haiti is assessed or understood, here’s what happened in the instant that the earthquake hit that impoverished nation: Your donations from the past days, months, and years were mobilized in the form of relief for people living among tragedy and ruin.

Think about those volunteers, ringing those bells in the cold, urging us to reach into our pockets for whatever we can find. I’m not sure about you, but there are times I give and times I don’t. But whether I do reach into my pocket or I don’t, I am not sure I actually take the time to consider the depth of my decision. All I know is that I count on the organization I am supporting, and have confidence in how they will respond when needed.

There is no question the push will be on in the days and weeks ahead, and requests for donations will seem like they are coming at us through the mail, Internet, telephone, school, church, and work. We will support when we can and we will give whatever it is we can afford. And we will do so because this is who we are- we are a caring and giving species full of love and hope in what sometimes feels like a hopeless situation. We give for no other reason than it is simply the right thing to do.

So to all of you who stand in the snow and rain, in the cold and wind, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, for all who support the Red Cross, for everyone who gives through their church and other charitable organizations, for all the children and students who will raise money through bakes sales and lemonade stands, and for each and every one of you who will give of your time and talents, I am so proud of you all, and in the eyes and hearts of those you may never meet, you are all heroes and greatly appreciated.

It may be just some extra pocket change, or you may write a check or make a donation on a credit card, and it may be for an immediate and specific cause like a Haitian Relief Fund, or it may just be to a general charitable organization, but the who, how, where, when, what, and why aren’t as important as just recognizing that somebody, somewhere, sometime, will have a need and that you can make a difference.

I can tell by the e-mails I have received over this past year that this is a community that cares, loves, hopes, and gives, and I look forward to hearing how you plan to help at and together let’s make it a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker, and CEO of He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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