Being from a Chicago neighborhood that grew out of a tradition of being more than a little rough around the edges, and adding just the right amount of my familial, Sicilian cynicism, has made me the outspoken, in-your-face kind of person I am today.
Soft and gentle will never be words used by anyone to describe me.
At the same time, I am touched, sometimes to tears, by the good deeds, cooperation and caring of others.
Within the last year, I’ve had the good fortune to meet Sandy Johnson, pastor of the Boulder City United Methodist Church. Before I go any further, I am not, nor have I ever been a Methodist, and I’m not doing a commercial for the local Methodist church.
I just want to tell you about Sandy, a young woman with lots of drive and enthusiasm and a very big heart. I described her to someone the other day as a breath of fresh air to Boulder City.
“You’re right,” the woman said. “That’s exactly what she is!”
This “fresh air” young woman has come to town with some strong ideas and opinions that may rub some folks the wrong way, but she is creating a subtle wave of good feeling that I haven’t felt in my nearly 18 years here in Boulder City.
In the time I’ve known Sandy, I’ve always, always seen her with a smile on her face that comes from something very good inside. You can’t keep this kind of “good stuff” hidden. It trickles out and touches you.
There’s also a fresh, creative cooperation between the Senior Center of Boulder City and Emergency Aid, two well-known nonprofit organizations in town. While these organizations have worked together in the past, what’s happening today is something, I believe, very different.
Tammy Copelan, assistant executive director of the center, where I serve as president of the board of directors, wrote a grant for food pantry funding that would benefit the Senior Center and Emergency Aid. We are still waiting for a final decision on this grant, but if it materializes, our neighbors in need will benefit from the added resources.
Back in February, Kathy Whitman, a member of Grace Community Church, sent me an email asking if I would be willing to help with providing dinner for two weeks to visiting families in the Family Promise of Las Vegas program. My husband, Michael, and I have cooked for these families in previous years when they made Grace Community Church their “home” for a week, and I was very familiar with the program.
There were more volunteers to provide meals for the two weeks than I’ve ever seen before. There are folks waiting in the wings for the next Family Promise visit in November.
The Elks Club, the Fire Department and United Methodist Church provided four nights of meals; a contingent of LDS members organized by Wendy Randall, Peggy Leavitt and Susan Johnson provided three nights of meals. Grace Community Church members not only provided meals but some volunteered every night.
Michael and I cooked one night, and had the help of City Manager Dave Fraser, his wife, Anna, and their three sons. I know Dave was a little disappointed that he and his family couldn’t help more that night, but I’m taking his participation as a sign of good things to come.
Kathy and her husband, Wendell Whitman, and their daughters were the perfect hosts for this event. They were everywhere, all the time, making sure the families were taken care of and were comfortable. Watching Kathy hold a baby of one of the families made me think she was the mother!
Those two weeks created, at least for me, a hope that perhaps one day in the not-too-distant-future our town might be able to have its very own Family Promise of Boulder City to help folks toward independence and sustainability.
All these folks show me how much good we have around us, and I’ve just scratched the surface.
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 347-9924.