This decision isn’t about demonizing United Way. I’ve served on the United Way Board and our local organization in particular has accomplished some astounding things. We may have the best United Way executive director in the state in Joyce Mayhill. If she’s not, she’s the best executive director the local agency has ever had.
But on this day, it’s time to reflect about truly “living united” in a community sense and not in the sense that is United Way’s motto. Those among us who have contributed to United Way and those of us who never do need to reflect on what community really is.
In 1888 when the Logansport State Hospital opened its doors, it happened because local residents and officials were able to do more than come up with the people to staff it. They kept it going, even when the state struggled financially to fund it. It was that commitment that kept it open and allowed employees there to celebrate its 125th anniversary this year.
For much of that history, volunteers throughout our community, including one former Pharos-Tribune Good Neighbors recipient, made the Christmas Gift Lift for state hospital patients a reality, spreading the cheer of a community to those who, by some definitions, may have needed it the most. These volunteers didn’t do it for the money. They did it because — in Logansport — that was the right thing to do; to be your brother’s keeper and to remember that it truly is better to give than receive.
One of the things that Logansport and Cass County really does well today that it didn’t have in 1888 is the Special Olympics. It’s impressive when former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Carl Erskine, Olympic gold medalist Greg Bell or former Indiana University NCAA champion Landon Turner travel to Logansport, just to speak at a Special Olympics banquet. It gives us hope to see Special Olympians become gold medalists and represent our city in another country.