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Heroism And Compassion

I have my share of political and social opinions that I share with people who ask.

For the most part, they don’t ask. And that’s just as well: I expect the world can use less rather than more disagreement.

So when I write this column each month I try to stick to what I know best. I even feel obligated to write about some topics. Since I’ve spent more than two decades working for electric cooperatives, which publish Kentucky Living, I feel it’s something of a duty to comment on electricity and co-op matters.

So I’ll try not to stray too far from familiar ground in making some connections among world events.

As I write this I can’t ignore the headlines, broadcasts, and everyday conversation about people fighting and dying in Iraq. This morning’s news of an attack on a command tent of the 101st Airborne Division was filled with the deep sadness and confusion that seem to go together in war. It brings the human tolls even closer to home, affecting so deeply those Kentuckians and Tennesseans around Fort Campbell. Events will change a lot between the time I write this and you read it. What won’t change is the need for us to keep the military people and their families in our minds and hearts.

Others around the world need our attention as well. In this issue you’ll find the second of two columns about co-op employees bringing electricity to people around the world. This month’s column describes the work of Kentuckians helping power villages halfway around the world in the Philippine Islands.

That story brings to mind a phrase I still remember clearly after years of hearing hundreds of speakers at countless business meetings. The publisher of an energy newsletter, describing the unimaginably difficult conditions faced by so many millions of people in the world, said, “If you can do just one thing for them, give them electricity.” He contended that virtually all improvements in people’s quality of life result from having electricity.

Soldiers in the Middle East and electrical engineers in the Philippines give us a human definition of heroism and compassion. They offer lessons in the things that bring us together.

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