We live in a curious era with so many folks wanting the spotlight, that 15 minutes of fame and glory, that they nearly run over each other in a fight for the light switch. Particularly dismaying is when someone wrests control and still others are not satisfied until the one in the limelight is not only replaced but reduced.
That is a pretty sad state of affairs and we as a nation and as a community suffer badly from these ne're-do-wells. On the other hand, there are silent heroes. Well perhaps heroes is a bad choice of words as everyone seems to be labeled as such for actions great and small. In thinking about it, we prefer "doers of the public good". That doesn't mean so much being involved in governmental projects as much as it applies to making the community a little bit better through acts great and small.
We had a talk with Dave Berson the other day. He runs that electric ship, the Glory, out of docks near Preston. Not really a talk but a watch and listen as he took a small group of kids and parents out for a tour of the local waters. We've known him by and by and he has a reputation for having a certain congenial rough edge about him that comes from years on the water and being in charge. Not a hostile edge, but one that comes from nonsense, matter of fact demeanor. He was great with the kids. Absolutely great and they were as easy with him as wind in a sail.
We talked about this later in the day with a friend who we know from the library and more of this "great with kids" thing came out. Seems David and the Glory are knee deep in helping kids understand that his boat isn't "electric by accident" and that it is "green" by design. It is responsible as our friend put it. You could run it in your swimming pool and still swim in clean water. That "Green" issue extends to a certain joy and deep respect for the local ecology and that is what is actually being passed on to kids all over town and the area. He teaches that but not as if he were from the DEC but like someone who understands it and respects it.
As we are a water village it is refreshing to find someone who contributes a lot of time and effort in passing on this knowledge and care, this concern and the joy of discovery. That he does it for kids puts him in the select company of other doers of the public good; scout leaders, church youth directors, coaches - simply all manner of folks who take what they do best and apply it for the benefit of others. It and they are the glue that holds things together and they don't receive the notice they should but then again the are not those grabbing for the spotlight.
We had a friend who ran a youth music program once upon a time and his orchestras played their heads off and loved it. After concerts when parents would come up to him and say all those glories words of praise he was brusque - almost angry - in pointing out it "was the kids"..it was always the kids and for the kids. Dave seemed like that when we saw him. We wrote a while back about an Eagle Scout and his leader; they/he was like that too. So was the nice person at the library who took a minute to explain how good his programs were and how much good they did.
Doers of the Public Good.