Valley Voices –– September 2019

Live with Gratitude, Give with Gratitude

There are few rewards greater than those that come from helping others. Family, friends and even strangers, we have an inclination to lend a helping hand — sometimes when we have an abundance of fruit to share and other times when we share our last piece with someone who may need it more than us. It’s human nature and the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” 

I learned early in my childhood the importance of giving back. From donating bins of clothes and toys to Prince of Peace Center in Farrell to picking up litter left by passers-by in our neighborhood, my parents taught my brother, Warren, and me generosity and the importance of being humble. 

When my sister was born in 2001, my brother and I also learned what it was like to be on the receiving end, as my sister spent nearly the first year of her life in hospitals, from the former Tod Children’s Hospital in Boardman, Ohio, and then to Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. We spent a lot of time with our grandmother as our parents took the daily commute to Cleveland. There were times I woke up in the middle of the night to the sounds of my parents crying at the weight of having two young children at home and a sick newborn in a hospital room more than an hour away. Although it was a long, tough journey, it was made easier through the many prayers from people — some who we knew, but many whom we did not — the families who provided meals for us; the games, toys and activities that Rainbow nurses gifted to Warren and me; the friends and family who would care for us while my parents were at the hospital — I could not tell you the number of people, nor the names of many, who helped my family in one of the greatest times of need. 

Now, 18 years later, my sister, Morgan, is healthy and thriving. A recent high school graduate, she is a constant reminder to keep faith, have confidence and live with gratitude. 

This month I am honored to share with our readers just a small sampling of the innumerable individuals, organizations and businesses who give back to our wonderful communities. These people and places change lives and for those they have helped, those people will be forever grateful. 

No matter the moniker — volunteer, philanthropist, humanitarian — we thank each and every individual who selflessly serves our communities and makes them even greater than before. 

With gratitude,


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