“Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don’t talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.”

— Jean Vanier, 1989

In Middleburg most us know more than our fair share of good people who, day in and day out, do a lot but don’t talk about it.

Indeed, most of us know more than our fair share of people who would be embarrassed if we talked about what they had done for us at all.

Those things, they insist, are not really worth talking about:  acts of human kindness, generosity, hard work for little or no pay; simply “doing their jobs,” helping strangers in need; serving as volunteers; showing up without being asked;  up to and including acts of genuine courage and painful self sacrifice.

One of the joys of publishing a community newspaper is, from time to time, to be able to give credit where credit is due, even at the risk of embarrassing some of those we most admire.

There are many good reasons for doing so, not least among them the hope that admirable behavior deserves both recognition and emulation.

Another is a sense of obligation; a need to at least recognize a debt even if one is unable to repay it.

Events like our recent three-foot snow highlight the grace and spirit of those who make our community live.

Neighbors help neighbors.

Neighbors help strangers.

People we expect to serve do so in ways that are above and beyond the call.

They are not deterred by long hours, hard work, and potentially dangerous conditions.

They never fail to be where they are needed, when they were needed, and inevitably in the best of spirits.

In this month’s story about the great snow we named some of those people.

Every single one of those we talked to insisted that real heroes of the hour were other people, and most certainly not them.

And there were dozens, perhaps hundreds of our friends and neighbors, who truly remain unsung.

How lucky we are to know such people and to be part of the community that they make . . . live.

Thanks to them all, from us all.

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