Our Voice: We're grateful for people who help others in need

Helping hands and heart

Jim Vines told the Herald it is a blessing in his life to be able to volunteer when other people are facing hardship.

The Pasco man spent 10 days feeding body and soul at the Oso mudslide area. He was part of the Southern Baptist Relief Group and helped prepare more than 700 meals a day for victims and first responders. He also spent time serving as a chaplain.

He goes back with his wife on Easter Sunday for another 10 days of chaplaincy.

Broken lives and broken spirits often travel together. On Abraham Maslow's famous psychological theory, Hierarchy of Needs, love and belonging follow closely behind safety. The emotional toll of any emergency is real. We're grateful for people who tend to others' physical needs and their spiritual and emotional well being.

We all need someone to listen sometimes.

Hooked on helping

"If you give a man a fish ..." begins a familiar old saying. But what if you go three giants steps past teaching him to fish? What if you build a pond, stock it with trout and provide the rod for him to keep?

Not only are you feeding him for a lifetime, you're also giving the community a gift that will last for years to come.

Ken Johanning has organized an annual fishing derby in Kennewick for 17 years. During that time he has given away more than 28,000 fishing rods. We can't even guess how many young people have been introduced to fishing because of his efforts.

We also can't begin to number the people who enjoy the Family Fishing Pond in Columbia Park, even those who don't fish. A walking path through Columbia Park circles the pond and many walkers, joggers and cyclists enjoy the area.

The former "old lagoon" was really not much more than a mudhole back in the 1990s. Johanning organized the project to deepen the pond, and it has become one of the bright spots in this crown jewel of Mid-Columbia parks.

And for one weekend a year, there are lots of fish available for the catching. This year there will be 7,000 of them for the May 9-10 derby. Register online at go2Kennewick.com/recreation under "Youth Activities." The cost is $10.

Thank you to the man who organizes the annual event and, perhaps with even greater appreciation, thanks to the same man for the beautiful Family Fishing Pond that adds beauty to the Mid-Columbia.

Boots to Books to Jobs

We are grateful this week and always for the men and women who serve in our military. And we're glad there are ways for them to take the skills they learn in the field and parlay them into a paycheck.

The Boots to Books to Jobs event helps vets get the most from their GI Bill. Veteran Affairs partners with Columbia Basin College and Washington State University Tri-Cities to help students navigate the system and make the most of their opportunities.

Sadly, there are times we let our veterans down. But helping them become employed is one area where the country is trying to do right by them.

We're grateful for that effort and for the service of those who protect our country.