Heartfelt Connections - The Missourian: Opinion

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Heartfelt Connections

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Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2014 6:30 pm

One of the best things about working in community journalism is that we are privileged to share the positive stories that impact our communities.

While there is no shortage of heartbreaking stories that we are obligated to report, it is the heartwarming stories that fuel our passion and sustain us.

Missourian Feature Editor Karen Cernich provided one of those uplifting stories in last weekend’s edition. It was the kind of story that reaffirmed your faith in mankind and made you glad you live in Franklin County. It was a story, no pun intended, with a lot of heart.

The story, “Recognizing ‘Good Deed Doers,’ ” highlighted area individuals, groups and businesses who have made a difference in the lives of people with developmental disabilities through an act of kindness.

Developmental Services of Franklin County (DSFC) honors these folks with an award they call the Tin Man Award after the character in “The Wizard of Oz.”

DSFC is on the front lines of caring for people with developmental disabilities which include conditions like mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism.

The agency provides and coordinates vital services for people with developmental disabilities in our county. They are good people who do important work that often goes unnoticed outside the developmental disability community. They are strong advocates for those they serve.

They also recognize a good deed when they see it. That is how the Tin Man Award started. The award was initially given to DSFC employees who went above and beyond the call of duty. Now the award is given to anyone who displays kindness or compassion for those with developmental disabilities.

Since 2003, DSFC has presented more than 100 Tin Man Awards. They have been awarded to service organizations like the Washington Elks who held a dance for DSFC clients, families and volunteers. The dance went over so well that the Elks Lodge in St. Clair was inspired to hold one as well.

Dr. Leo Burke of Osage Dental Group in Pacific received a Tin Man Award for his kind and gentle approach to treating developmentally disabled patients. Boy Scout Troop 449 in St. Clair has received a Tin Man Award as have a number of area businesses, including ATRO Engineered Systems and ACE Manufacturing and Parts Co., and the Sullivan Chamber of Commerce. The Tin Man Award list is long. The generosity of spirit that spurred each recognition is inspiring.

We join DSFC in saying Bravo to the Tin Man Award winners.

If you are in need of a little inspiration, read Cernich’s story. Our hope is that inspires more Tin Man Awards.

It’s not that difficult to brighten the life of someone with a developmental disability. All it takes is a little heart.

/opinion

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