Our Voice: We are grateful for dreamers and big dreams

Newspapers have to report the bad news and the important developments, but the paper also is brimming with good news stories -- stories of people helping each other out, whether it's friends, family or strangers.

These stories are pretty common around the Mid-Columbia. We're grateful to live in a community that has a sense of compassion.

What a deal

One example of such kindness is the neighbor who could see that the couple next door was cramped, financially strapped and struggling. In these situations, people sometimes bring in a meal or donate a little cash. And those gestures are appreciated.

In this case, the neighbor gave the couple a mobile home. Well -- sold -- the couple a mobile home -- for a dollar. Lazetta and Felipe Lua are grateful.

Most of us live with the financial reality that there is never quite enough money. Any gift is generous.

We say it is the thought that counts, but when that thought is backed up with some action, it can make a world of difference.

Shriners' donation

The Shriners are well known for the silly cars they drive in the parades or bringing the circus to town -- all in the name of entertaining children. But they do more than just entertain. They provide medical help to kids who might not be able to get it otherwise.

In the case of Cassidy Almquist -- who suffered a spinal cord injury last summer -- the Shriners provided her transportation to specialists in California and all the costs associated with the trip.

Some private donors also helped.

And although Cassidy's case is exceptional, the Shriners' help is not. They typically take four or five children from the Tri-Cities to Spokane a month for treatment. They took 10 children in January.

Yes, the Shriners give medical help. And they provide financial support, but perhaps the greatest gift they give is hope -- and that doesn't come with a price tag.

Dream big

Dave McNall lost his ability to walk when he was a toddler, but he still gets around -- and is planning to go far, literally.

He has taken up cycling -- with a special three-wheeled, hand-powered bike. He's logged about 350 miles on his new ride and now he's planning a cross-country trip.

That's ambitious for anyone.

But why not?

Actually, there probably are dozens of reasons to stay home. But we love the idea of dreaming big.

Planning something, anything -- a big trip, what you will plant in your yard this year, that new start-up enterprise -- is a sure-fire cure for the winter blues. Getting out and exercising is another one. Maybe something will come of your plans; maybe the joy is all in the planning.

There is no reason not to dream big.

We think McNall is onto something.