Our Voice: Thanks for those who build our sense of community

All aboard

The recent train ride for military families must have been a lot like the Polar Express, with hot chocolate, Santa and little gifts.

What a nice thing to do.

Train rides are just plain fun. And Christmas is fun. And spending time with friends and family is fun.

But for some of these military families, the holidays must be a difficult time of year.

Some of them are not spending the holiday with their loved ones. Some of them are grieving their loved ones. And Christmas is an especially difficult time for that. Maybe it's because we have memories of being together at Christmas. Or maybe it's because the days are shorter and colder. Or maybe our grief is accentuated next to others' apparent joy.

Whatever the reason or the situation, it's a good time to remember that the holidays are hard for some of us.

Thanks to the BNSF Railway Co. for honoring our military families and thank you to those who serve our country -- and those who love those who serve.

Pro bono work

Lawyer jokes take aim at a profession, which in reality is an important part of our democracy. The Constitution guarantees us a fair and speedy trial.

So despite the one-liners, we appreciate the hours attorneys devote to pro bono work. The American Bar Association recommends lawyers donate 50 hours of pro bono work a year.

Some do much more than that. Those are the ones honored each year by the Legal Aid Society. Some of them earn the recognition year after year.

The organization honors attorneys each year who have gone beyond their professional duty. We also thank them for their service to the community.

Food for thought

Bill and Carole Allenbaugh made breakfast Saturday for 400 of their closest friends ... OK, some of them were total strangers.

But the Allenbaughs have made an annual tradition that warms hearts and opens wallets and fills stomachs. They serve a big breakfast in return for canned goods.

The attendees were fed and warmed, despite the frigid temperatures and the food that was donated goes to the Tri-Cities Food Bank.

All around it's a good deal.

The cold weather has actually been a reminder that some people are cold and don't have the resources many of us do.

If you missed this year's breakfast, it's not too soon to make a note on your December 2014 calendar.