Legacies come in many forms; start yours today

December is the end of the calendar year, and winter is the season for slowing down. Today we're thinking about legacies and the people who make our community a better place by sharing of themselves.

Soup's still on

Duane Pepiot is passing his legacy of soup making -- which includes the "secret" spice packet -- to his granddaughter. We expect he is also passing on his life's wisdom and work ethic.

Pepiot has been selling his soup mix for 20 years as a fundraiser for his church. We're glad to see the soup secret being handed down to a new generation. (We hate the thought of that getting lost.)

Two aspects of this story captured our attention.

One is that if you want to have something worth passing down when you get to your winter years, you have to put effort into something during the spring, summer and autumn years. A worthwhile note for all of us.

Secondly, we love the idea of sharing between the generations. In this case, it's a secret recipe between a grandfather and a granddaughter, but it could easily be a common interest, a funny story or an heirloom.

A place for study

Another important legacy for families is the love of learning.

Sometimes when parents didn't have the opportunity for an education, they are that much more keen on their children getting the chance. In essence, they are creating a legacy, not just passing it on.

Usually, that's a little harder to do.

So we appreciate the community and school leaders who encourage families to create an atmosphere of learning -- in this case a place to do homework.

The Boys and Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties' Music & Arts Center in downtown Kennewick has been honored for its homework center. Families at Amistad Elementary have been recognized for the same accomplishment.

Educating a student often means reaching out to the whole family. It's a legacy for the school, the district and individual families.

Pro bono work

Being good at what you do creates a legacy at your workplace. And many companies in the Mid-Columbia create their own legacies through service and community gifts.

But when individuals give that service without being paid, it is a legacy of a different kind.

We appreciate Steve Defoe, Linda Waite and the other attorneys who were honored last week by the Legal Aid Society for their pro bono work.

The legal system has its own jargon. It can be confusing and expensive. It's a meaningful service to help those who are in need of legal aid and are financially strapped.

Community grants

Some people leave an individual legacy. Some people do so as a group.

The Three Rivers Community Foundation is one way those who want to establish a financial legacy can help out the community without having to research every good cause -- of which there are many.

This year, the foundation has awarded grants to 40 different programs in the Mid-Columbia.

That's good news for the community and for those who support the foundation.

Our community has a lot a needs. We are grateful for the supply of generous donors who help bridge the gap between getting by and not making it.