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December 20, 2011 9:12 am

EDITORIAL: Spirit of giving evident in community year-round

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Last week, a group of residents gave a woman a car. They did not know her — not even her name. They only knew of her need.

She’s a hardworking single mother who couldn’t afford a vehicle, so she walked everywhere, even on frigid December days. On one of those walks, Brook Grant of Cody saw her and offered her a ride. From there, Grant organized a Facebook group and called it “Paying it Forward.” Donations soon came from Cody, Powell, Lovell and surrounding communities.

On Thursday — less than two weeks after Grant first met the woman — she gave her the keys to a car.

The story exemplifies the true spirit of giving in the Big Horn Basin — something that’s certainly alive and well. While this story is especially heartwarming at Christmas time, the spirit of giving is evident in the community year-round.

Just looking at a few stories from Powell over the past year illustrate the unceasing generosity of our small agricultural community.

In January, Alexa Lazar-Minnix, then a junior at Powell High School, was seriously injured in a horrible car wreck. Within a couple of weeks, the community gathered for a fundraiser, raising thousands of dollars to help her family with medical costs. In September, the “Hitting for Hometown Heroes” softball tournament raised another $3,000 for Alexa, helping her with the transition to a Colorado hospital.

In May, residents raised nearly $40,000 for Zach Wagner of Powell, who was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Wagner underwent a successful surgery in Arizona. “I’m so blessed to be in this community,” Wagner said following last spring’s fundraiser.

Throughout the year, Powell Troop Support sends care packages to soldiers serving our country. For the Christmas holiday, the group sent 210 boxes to soldiers in Afghanistan and Kuwait. Donations totaling nearly $3,000 covered the postage costs.

Every holiday season, the Christmas Basket Program distributes gifts to those in need. Since  1949, Sally Montoya and other volunteers have faithfully served, giving to countless families over the decades.

These are just several examples of the many ways Powell and the surrounding communities give to those in need. Youth athletic teams, churches, charitable organizations, educational programs and other community groups regularly receive support from local residents and businesses. Of course, this generosity goes well beyond Wyoming — over the year, residents have given to flood victims in North Dakota, orphans in Haiti, families struggling in Mozambique, Africa, and many other causes.

This is the season to gather in holiday traditions, to worship, to celebrate and to reflect on the past year. This also is a time to be thankful for the generosity of our neighbors, friends and strangers who make this community a better place.

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