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KATIE ZERR: I had a Grinch moment Monday

You know you are from a small town when…
This is a one of those social media things making the rounds at different times. It is a take on the Jeff Foxworthy’s “You know you’re a redneck if…”
On Monday I found out how I would complete that sentence. I had every intention of heading to Pizza Ranch to kill two birds with one stone: to participate in the fundraiser for Belinda (Voegele) Holzer and take some pictures.
Unfortunately, I had a school board meeting and couldn’t quite work it into my schedule. But as I completed the last duty on my list before heading home to let the dog out, grab a bite and head to the school, I was near enough to the Pizza Ranch to swing by, take a quick picture and be on my way.
As I approached the restaurant I realized the folly in my thinking. There was no place to park that would allow me to get in and get out in the time I had.
The parking lot was packed. People had turned out in droves to support the Holzer and Voegele families. Although my plan was thwarted, I really didn’t care. I kind of felt like the Grinch on Christmas morning after he heard the Whos singing. My “heart grew three sizes” as I pulled out of the parking lot.
In talking to people about the fundraising efforts for Belinda’s family, I am amazed at how much money can be generated by one small effort. I am really amazed how generous people are in their hosting these fundraisers, in donating time and effort, food, facilities and on and on and on.
I have always known this area has the greatest people in this country. We go above and beyond to help a neighbor in need, to help strangers who hit a bump in the road, to open our doors to those who are out in the cold and to give a hand up to those in need of one.
It takes something like Belinda’s saga to remind us that in a world where there are a lot of really horrible people, the people in this part of the country are shining stars of humanity.
I spoke yesterday to one of the people working on the “Share the Spirit” Thanksgiving dinner fundraiser, who sounded a little bit alarmed at the lack of donations that have been received for the annual fundraiser. I was a bit taken aback also because normally at this time, we are discussing emphasizing one aspect of the dinner, whether it is volunteers, or salads, that is needed, because there are enough donated turkeys, potatoes and stuffing to cover the needs.
But then I realized there has been so much going on in our community that some who donate may just be a little late this year. I have no doubt that there will be enough food to feed those who don’t have family to be with or can’t really afford the Thanksgiving spread. I have no doubt that there will be funding for area charities after the event is over.
We almost always pull through for those who don’t have.
We are bombarded with constant misery in our daily news, whether it is communities decimated by natural disasters, or horrendous human beings using their power and money to destroy the lives of others, or one person taking the lives of many because something in his or her life triggered a rage that could not be controlled. In these dark times when a bright light shines on those in need, it makes us realize that we may not have the malls, the restaurants or the access to entertainment they do in the cities, but we have community.
We have volunteers who work for hours and hours to raise money for local charities by building and hosting Scarecrow Hollow every year.
We have clubs and organizations that work tirelessly to raise funds for the MMA’s backpack program or the food pantry. Our Rotary Club raises funds for projects, like the new bathrooms at Scherr-Howe Event Center, that make a community a better place to live.
We have volunteers who work hundreds of hours putting on a memorable Fourth of July celebration that continues to bring those who have left Mobridge, home to make more memories. They bring their children here for them to experience something they can’t get away from small town South Dakota.
We are far from perfect. It is not Utopia, but we are a caring, giving community that shows generosity of heart and a giving spirit.
We understand that what we do will come back to us three fold. We understand that we help and some day others will be there when we need help.
You know you are from a small town when…one moment, one sight, one community action can make your “heart grow three sizes.”