Many companies and organizations give back to our communities tenfold, and I am just astonished at how many of us, myself included, take them for granted.
I often think without such staples in our area, what would we do? Several of them touched me in three distinct stages of my life.
First, being one of three raised by a single mom, money was tight. I remember my mother struggling to make the mortgage payment, not purchasing pantyhose to give us soccer cleats or eyeglasses and wondering what bills could get paid with any given paycheck.
I must admit, my mom could get very creative with hamburger meat and pasta to make sure we were well-nourished and healthy. It instilled a great work ethic in us to succeed.
Yet when it came to sending me off to college, she had a tremendous helping hand. The Clark Foundation Scholarship I was awarded provided the much-needed funds toward my degree goal. Numerous area graduates have been able to pursue higher education because of the Clark Foundation's generosity, and I will always be thankful.
Second, when my father was in medical need while in the final stages of heart failure and diabetes _ a condition that eliminated him from a possible heart transplant on Long Island _ Hospice was there for him and our family.
The work this organization does cannot be repaid, but I do contribute financially to help in its continued efforts. I remember receiving the call from my stepmother telling me that the Hospice nurse said that my dad had a limited amount of time left and to contact loved ones to say their farewells.
Not only did the Hospice make my father's last weeks with us more comfortable, their counseling and shared knowledge were invaluable for us to know what to expect. I will be forever indebted.
Our local organization continues to provide care for those in need. Anyone who has volunteered or dealt with Hospice can attest to its mission and aid in our community.
Last, but certainly not least, as a new publisher, I have had the opportunity to visit many businesses and organizations, attend many events and dinners and participate on boards and volunteer regularly.
I can't tell you how many times I have made the trip up the hill from our facility to the State University College at Oneonta campus for a dinner, a co-sponsored event, or to use the library or walk around the gym for the Bassett Heart Run and Walk.
The SUCO facilities are host to volumes of community events such as the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee and Recognition Dinner for our area youth, the co-sponsored Daily Star Cook-Off as well as many fundraisers for kidney and heart organizations.
And let's not forget the student population that brings business to our markets and sustains many local businesses, along with the valuable internships and volunteering college students do in our area.
With arts and cultural resources, sporting events, enhancements with the Center for Economic and Community Development and WUOW, employee involvement with the United Way, Habitat for Humanity and other causes, the university's impact on our community is immense.
Our area colleges and institutions _ with several SUNY programs, Hartwick and USC close by _ employ many folks within our communities who work to provide services for the students who benefit our area. With two new college presidents on the hills, I know collaboration will continue to thrive.
The local organizations have all touched my life in such a positive light, as well as the life of my daughter, who turned 2 on Monday. But that is a whole other column.
My trek is still ongoing to be smoke-free and hasn't moved much from the five daily cigarettes I was at two weeks ago. I am just ecstatic that I haven't returned to the two packs a day I used to smoke. I certainly wouldn't categorize a publisher's job as stress-free and easy, but this publisher is determined and methodical ... and I will get there.
Tanya Shalor is publisher of The Daily Star. Her column appears every other week.