In my travels as a reporter, I often find myself amongst people and situations that you ordinarily wouldn’t be a part of. It can be both a blessing and sometimes, well, less so. However, this week I will count myself very fortunate indeed because I was in the presence of what it truly means to care.

I had the pleasure to photograph and speak with almost 200 women who spent $100 each to help out local charities as part of the 100 Women Who Care. The inaugural event was incredibly well organized, succinct and a wonderful platform for many charities to tell a captive audience about what they do and why the do it. As the rules of the event dictated, there could only be a handful of winners but that wasn’t the true measure of success for this event. No, there was so much more that came out of it. A sense of pride, connection and true compassion that is hard to describe in print.

Hats off to you, Diane Crummy, and your team for a wonderful event and a passion that is above reproach. And I’m not saying that because she was one of two teachers I feared as a child. Okay, she still intimidates me.

Saturday evening marked another occasion where the true leaders of the community came together to celebrate a milestone. The Rotary Club of Chesterville and District is hardly what one would consider a “flashy” organization, but they just matter. They work in partnership with other organizations, help families in need, fundraise, create community events, beautify our towns and are generally the glue that holds the fabric of our villages together.

I had the pleasure of having a coffee with Betty Vanden Bosch, a woman I have known for years, and what struck me most was the purity of her agenda. She simply cares.

Throughout their 80-year history, the Rotary has made a difference on a level few of us will really grasp, but all of us will ultimately benefit from. Betty, thank you to you and your amazing team of volunteers.

Finally, I spent a few minutes with a former classmate of mine, and the current vice-principal of North Dundas District High School, Mike Deighton.  It’s always a bit of a trip to literally walk down memory lane in the hallowed halls of NDDHS, but I was there to get a few words on his pending departure to take on a new position at Laggan Public School.

Mike and I are buddies. Not good friends, but buddies from way back and as such we always reminisce. They’re all great stories and rarely indicative of the mature adults we have become.

In speaking with Mike, his passion for his students, their welfare and their future is nothing short of inspiring. Too often teachers and the education system are criticized for being just that – a system. Mike has gathered an unbelievable team of educators that make a difference. Mike, you will be sorely missed and we will all do our best to keep your passion pumping through the halls of NDDHS.

All of these people have one thing in common. They care and take action with no expectation of recognition. Count yourself lucky to live in a world that they, and many more people like them, have created.

As Margaret Mead once said, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

— T.S.