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The people of Franklin County really are good people, trying to do good things.

A new star has beamed across the valley during the Christmas season. It was set-up on the hills in the Whitney area by Scott Beckstead, “just because.” “Why not?” he asked. When a transmitting station was installed on the property, he made a deal that would provide power to the star he built for the holidays.

There are a lot of “Why not?” questions being asked by local individuals and organizations when it comes to doing good.

Preston City Council member Allyson Wadsworth publicly thanked a variety of organizations which have been busy trying to make the holiday season a little lovelier for area residents at the city’s final council meeting of the year. She noted the Senior Citizen Center, the Toys for Tots program, the Angel Tree program, and the Elks Lodge’s efforts to give over 700 food baskets to area residents. At Thanksgiving time, the Lundahl Family organized a similar effort through the Preston Community Food Pantry.

Local churches have sought ways to connect with their members and share messages of love and service.

“The one thing that I love the most about our community is that we take care of each other, not just around this special time of year, but year round. There’s always somebody looking out for somebody else,” said Wadsworth. It’s true.

Area adults give their time to freely coach youth in crafts, skills and sports through the local 4-H program and rec sports programs. Working with pandemic restrictions, youth leaders have taken their charges to the local nursing home and assisted living center in an effort to bring cheer to those residents, and the hills to gather wood for neighbors that need it. They provide a variety of service year-round to their neighbors.

That doesn’t mean they all think alike, or even agree on how things are done. The pandemic and politics have ignited sharply divided opinions, including those within Franklin County. But by and large, we handle our differences with respect.

“The things that keep me hopeful, like here in Preston, is that when it comes down to a conversation between two people, we can still disagree without being disagreeable,” said Preston School District Superintendent Marc Gee. He’s had “a number of conversations” with people who disagree with how the school has responded to the pandemic. “They’ve told me ‘I still disagree, but I know where you are coming from.’ We are still able to work together whether we disagree or not. That gives me hope,” said Gee.

“I compare what our kids have experienced, with those in states and counties that haven’t even been in school yet this year. We’ve been able to go to school, able to hold fall sports — it’s another blessing for where we live, that has allowed these things to continue despite what’s going on. Our kids will be better for it. Overall we have a good community — a good group of people to work with. If I had to go through Covid I’m glad it is in Preston,” he said.

He attributes that ability to a local “can do, pull yourself up by the boots straps” attitude and a willingness to work through situations one on one. “We don’t give in to cancel culture. When people make mistakes, we recognize things need to happen, but we don’t have to crucify them,” he said.

That attitude and the concern people show each other in Franklin County are a powerful mix for good. It’s a mix that comes to us from those who built our communities over the last 160 years. Like anything else, if a community isn’t getting better, it is getting worse. Nothing remains static. As we continue exercising good citizenship, we will see our communities grow in goodness.

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