Community members show compassion

Published 2:25 pm Sunday, January 4, 2009

Over the holidays I noticed so many folks being caring individuals –– kinder and more compassionate than one might be led to believe just by reading the front–page news.

I recently witnessed a scene on Highway 95 that at first glimpse seemed bizarre.

A car was driving towards me seemingly being pulled by a small dog. I thought at first it was a holiday joke and that the dog would be wearing antlers. Then I realized that the dog was not attached to the car, but running loose and scared down the middle of the highway.

The cars behind it were backed up six or seven deep, patiently following at 20 miles per hour. Then the dog swerved into the oncoming lane and quick-witted drivers from the opposite direction braked quickly as a collision pile-up was avoided. Still the dog was frantically circling across both lanes.

Dan Vanderkamp came out of his home and tried to persuade the dog out of the highway, but by now the animal was completely disoriented and frightened. I watched as more than 25 cars and some of their occupants stopped and tried to help. At last, the dog broke towards a dead-end side street, hopefully its home. Traffic rolled on.

Further down Highway 95 at Chandler Health and Rehab, a certain green elf was lending cheer to the holiday gathering of staff and residents, several of whom are from Helena.

Tara Fulmer, a National Honor Society high school senior donned in elf garb with bells jingling on her sleeves, was bringing smiles to faces. This was her second–annual holiday appearance. She also makes monthly visits to residents at other care facilities year round.

“I really enjoy having the opportunity to come be the elf for Chandler. Not only does it fill requirements for NHS service, it also provides joy for me to see the patients having a good time,” Fulmer said. “Some of the patients may not have any other visitors for the holiday season other than me and it makes me feel like I may have provided some hope during what may have otherwise been a dark time in their lives.”

Keep your eyes open for random acts of kindness happening around you. It is a heart-warming experience to observe even the smallest thoughtful action. It can inspire each of us to build on that good vibe and pass it on.