Our Voice: We're grateful for people who save us in many ways

Sometimes someone appears right at our moment of greatest need. Sometimes we face those trials alone.

Today we celebrate good fortune, perseverance and unexpected lifelines.

Capsized canoe

We hate to jinx ourselves by saying something like this out loud, but this year has been a pretty safe one on our waterways.

For that alone, we are grateful.

But this week, we also are thankful for the agencies that patrol our rivers, their quick thinking and alertness.

We're pretty sure Joe and Jason Dawson share our sentiments after the father and son were plucked from the Columbia next to their capsized canoe. And their little dog too.

Their story reminds us that strong swimmers and experienced boatmen are not exempt from mishaps and danger.

For the Dawsons, a Walla Walla County Sheriff's patrol boat was in the right place at the right time. Their story had a happy ending.

Our water is beautiful, but it can be deadly. All water, but especially our rivers, demand respect.

We're grateful that this was a case of rescue, not a case of recovering bodies.

Cheeseheads united

It's true that when you wait a long time for something, you appreciate it even more. Aged cheese ... fine wine ... season tickets for the Green Bay Packers.

Richland's Brad Fisher knows what it means to be patient and his persistence has paid off.

After 29 years of being on the Green Bay Packers' waiting list, he now has a pair of season tickets.

Congratulations on sticking with it for almost three decades. In our instant-gratification culture, that's really saying something.

Comfort from strangers

When a loved one dies, it is vitally important to us to keep that memory alive. That's why we have headstones and memorial services. It's why their birthdays and anniversaries and other holidays are especially painful. It's why we hang on to their photos and momentos.

And although the sharp stabs of grief dull a little with time, those treasured memories become all the more valuable with each passing year.

The letter of condolence from a community in North Carolina that was sent to the family of Army Spc. 4 Robert Wayne Ellis is one of those memories.

It was an unexpected act of kindness during a period of inexpressible sadness. The letter was written by the father of the woman who accompanied Ellis' body back to the Tri-Cities. It told of the effect that assignment had on her.

Many times we never know the influence we have on other people. It's good to share those uplifting moments with the people who inspire and encourage us.

We're thankful for the good things and good people in our lives. And we're thankful for those who make the effort to express their gratitude.