Over the past 20 years I’ve come across hundreds of people in my work. I’ve met governors, actors, presidential press secretaries, congressmen, generals and privates.
To me the most rewarding aspect of what I do is this: I love to learn what makes a person do what they’re most passionate about. And, every now and then I meet standouts who are striving to make a difference in their community.
Even if I don’t mention all of you, know that your caring and compassion and the need to do the right thing doesn’t go unnoticed.
Now, let me introduce you to some of those I am a big fan of.
I recently wrote about Debbie Calicutt, who runs the nonprofit sanctuary called Safe Hallow in Long County. Debbie and her daughter Rachel take care of dozens of cats and dogs, strictly from donations or, when funds dry up, out of her pocket.
Debbie is the closest person to a saint I have the honor of knowing, I may upset some folks but she may actually be a notch above Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint who cares for Gods creatures. Debbie has a tough and thankless mission.
She is a tireless lifesaver who struggles to ensure Gods creatures are fed, healthy and more importantly loved, even those who are on the cusp of crossing the rainbow bridge.
How she manages day-in and day-out is beyond me. It has to be by the grace of God for her to fulfill this mission handed to her.
Another life-saver who walks among us anonymously is Mieke Wilder of Carpathia Paws.
Mieke is the go-to person when an an animal is dumped in the trash, or injured by a vehicle or abuse. Meike is an animal rescuer who shuns the spotlight and does what she does best without anyone knowing what she’s done, all the while struggling to find funds to mend the dogs and cats who end up in her care. She too is a saint among us, and has earned my respect and admiration.
Then there’s Momma Irene Myers.
Momma Irene is one of my longest friends who has not only earned my respect and admiration but also that of the community. Momma Irene is a mother to everybody who comes in contact with her.
Living on a fixed income, Momma Irene has helped more people than anyone can imagine. I honestly don’t think she has ever turned anyone away who needed a hand.
Every year around Christmas time Momma Irene gathers toys for those less fortunate, and teaming up with organizations, hands out toys to children who otherwise would have a bleak Christmas morning.
All Momma Irene has ever asked in return is that they have a happy and bright holiday. It’s something she somehow always manages to make happen.
And, I can’t forget Annie Torres,
Annie and I go back more years than I actually want to think of. Annie is one of those big-hearted people who would give the shirt off her back if you needed it.
Recently, Annie introduced the community to a young Puerto Rican boy named Sebastian, who is suffering from cancer. A wrong number brought Sebastian into her life and ours.
Thinking she was calling her sister, Annie instead reached Sebastian’s mother and they struck up a friendship which led to the youngster meeting county and city employees during a visit to Liberty County. She even got the Hinesville Fire Department to give Sebastian a ride on the department’s ladder truck, which judging by the smile on his face made him forget the sickness ravaging his young body.
I truly believe Annie is an angel who walks amongst us mere mortals.
There are so many others who give of themselves to the community, such as Hinesville Police Department lieutenant’s Mike Gosseck, and Terranova Smith who put their lives on the line daily along with so many others to ensure our safety; the Sheriffs Office led by Sheriff Sikes, all our firefighters and emergency medical personnel, all of these individuals and organizations deserve our admiration and respect and I wish I could name each and every one of them.
When you lay your head down tonight, think about and pray for those who directly or indirectly make a difference by being angels here on earth.
Levine is retired Army and a senior correspondent for the Coastal Courier. He primarily covers the public safety beat, which is where he meets angels.