On February 21 I was priveleged to attend the Spirit of Women awards sponsored by the Sacred Heart Health System. My wife, Jody Neufeld, was one of the nominees, 113 women who were nominated for their service to the community. Only three of those could be recognized with awards, but I was impressed that the bulk of the program was designed to honor all 113. It is kind of nice to see my wife’s picture more than life size on the screen as she is introduced to the audience and honored for her service.
I think an event such as this is very important for two reasons. First, we very often don’t pay attention to the ordinary contributors to the public good, the volunteers who make community programs function. We pay much more attention to the folks who can contribute thousands and tens of thousands of dollars. But without the many individuals who do the little bits of work, fitting in their contribution between jobs and caring for families, all the big contributions would do very little. Second, we often don’t recognize the contribution of women nearly enough. I talk about this regularly in churches. By limiting the roles that women can play we deny the body of Christ the benefit of their gifts.
That’s why I appreciated this recognition ceremony so much. The keynote speaker, Dr. Alexa Canady, commented that her remarks were not for the nominees, but actually for the rest of the audience, whom she challenged to get busy. She’s right, but only partially so. The challenge to get involved needs to get out of that room. Most of the folks there were there to honor a loved one or to show their support for the various community projects. The challenge to ordinary people to get involved in ordinary ways needs to be heard far and wide. If everyone put in just a few more minutes a week, we could change the world.
I’m glad that my wife provides that example to her community.