Community-minded activism admirable

When someone asks me to assist with something, I, for the most part, can’t say no.

It’s a blessing and curse. On one hand, I’m able to be involved in several different activities, meeting many new, interesting people. On the other hand, it’s tough to give maximum effort, with everything else happening in life.

However, this column isn’t about my inability to say “no.” Instead it’s about some recent stories that have me smiling for the future of Clinton.

I’ve been involved in several stories in recent weeks, highlighting area residents making a difference. From showcasing the Clinton County Historical Museum and its efforts to expand to residents seeking a change in Springdale Cemetery’s fortunes, I’ve been up close with something I find admirable.

It’s one thing to be asked to help and then do it. It’s a completely different mindset to see a problem or a cause and jump in to help.

That’s what we’re seeing with the Clinton County Historical Society and also with a benefit this weekend for those affected by the May 6 Interstate 80 accident involving five Gateway-area residents.

The historical society is a volunteer-run organization. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a morning when several volunteers aren’t manning their stations at the society, ready to fill you in on Clinton’s roots.

And while interviewing organizers this week for Saturday’s trivia night to benefit the I-80 victims, it was apparent people were ready to either play in the trivia night or assist in any way possible. During the 30 minutes I was at the Moose Lodge, phone calls came in, showcasing more people interested in helping.

Madison Selser-Smith, the vehicle’s lone occupant to survive the crash, detailed that kind of community spirit when I sat down with her at the Moose Lodge. She’s been overwhelmed — in a good way — to the response by community members.

It’s that kind of reaching out that is changing the look of Springdale Cemetery, too.

I’ve written quite a bit in recent weeks about Springdale and that continued this week with Leanna Geffers and Rick Wynkoop making an investment by using weed trimmers to clean up the cemetery.

They deserve kudos, along with Pam Smith, who in the previous story reached out to state officials about the cemetery’s condition.

All three individuals saw a problem and did something about it.

That’s an admirable trait that many of us don’t see on social media. When we open our phones, we’re bombarded by complaining and finger-pointing on what’s wrong with the world, nation and community in which we live.

What’s great about these stories is that these residents aren’t waiting for someone else to fix things or care for a community member. They’re taking the initiative and doing something about it.

It’s something that often goes unseen in the community, but should be commended.

We can learn a lot from these stories and take solace in the fact that it’s happening in our community.

Scott Levine is the associate editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at or @ScottLevineCH on Twitter.