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American Greatness is Still Alive in Many of It's Towns

Updated on August 21, 2013

Where I live

I live in a town in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a little more than an hour's drive from Washington, DC. People come from all over to see the leaves in the Fall and hike the local hills most of the year.

We are not a small town, nor are we a big city. Some in our town are well off, some barely get by, and many are in between. We are Baptists, Catholics, Methodists and many other faiths. Our town may not have a bakery, but there are three auto parts stores and several churches. We have a Main Street with a gazebo and a movie theater. We have a K-Mart, 2 big grocery stores and a few neighborhood stores and just outside of town we have a Wal-Mart, Target and Lowes. (And many 7-11s)

What really makes my town great

The best part about living where I live is the people. When conditions are difficult, the citizens help out. We have a busy volunteer fire department. When we had 27 inches of heavy, wet snow a few years ago, instead of complaining and waiting for the city to come through with a snowplow on our street, the residents took it upon themselves that once their own area was clear, they went to the houses which were still buried and cleared that snow, and also made a one lane path in the street until the snowplows arrived. We could have waited for (the government to) clear "their" street, but in the interest of public safety and our own convenience, we helped out our town and each other.

Our people help others

It is not just ourselves that we help, but as a community, we all come together to help others in need. When Hurricane Sandy left so many people in New Jersey in great need, people from all faiths and businesses and organizations worked together to Stuff a Truck for some of those hit the hardest. The full size truck was set up in the parking lot of the Volunteer Fire Department to take donations of non perishable food, water, clothing, blankets and more from November 8th to November 17th from Noon to 6 PM weekdays and 10AM-6PM weekends. The United Way helped organize this effort and the truck, driver and even fuel have been made available at no cost and on November 18th, will be driven to New Jersey.

I learned about this effort when I went to vote in the 2012 National Election. On the first day of the collection, I dropped off two bags of clothes, sheets, towels, socks, etc, and while I was chatting with the volunteers, I realized one of them works at the same store I do, in the same area in the next department, so we came up with a plan to help out this cause even more. Flyers were posted, notices were posted on Facebook. I even brought banana boxes from the local Wal*Mart. This is an example of grassroots assistance at it's finest and something that makes America great. THE PEOPLE, working together and doing whatever they can. The little things add up to great things.

How America will survive and be strong

While America may have many opportunities for improvement, the American Spirit of helping one another is alive and well in my community and countless others all across Virginia and every other state in this country.

We need government to provide certain things to it's citizens, but there are many areas where ordinary citizens coming together as people, without labels like American or Virginian or Catholic or Democrat or Republican, may be in a better position to help. Instead of waiting for the government to help people, we may need to solve problems on our own.


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    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 3 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hello Tom,

      This really warmed my heart! I see both sides of the fence in my own neighborhood which is really changing in its diversity. Many avoid eye contact and keep to themselves, never making an attempt to integrate in spite of our efforts to be neighborly. I often wonder just what will happen during our next earthquake or crisis. I 'm still hopeful though! I'm a firm believer that the ups and downs of life are what bring us together and erase boundaries. Our coping mechanisms often serve as common bonds. Thanks for sharing!

      All the best,

      Cat :)

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Your town seems similar to mine, and I'd agree that it's where Americans so often get to show what good, caring, decent, people so many of them are.