In response to Jim Atteberry’s letter of July 22, “America too far gone to turn around,” I say you can cite the darkness, but opportunities abound to light a candle, chose one’s own destiny and assist rather than hurt others. Evil exists but so, too, do ways of helping and not hurting.

Consider the light and hope in our own community just in the past month:

Smith Creamery burns down, and Kleinpeter Dairy offers to both package and deliver dairy products for the Smiths.

A murder and suicide take place at T.J. Ribs, and the very next evening the manager of Juban’s Restaurant and owner of Gino’s Restaurant plus other local foodies show up in support of the Acadian Thruway eatery.

Funds for education decrease, and for the fourth year, hundreds of individuals respond to Todd Graves of Raising Cane’s, WBRZ-TV and Office Depot to stuff not one but multiple school buses with supplies for students.

WAFB-TV, Kean’s the Cleaner and St. Vincent de Paul collaborate to provide uniforms for schoolchildren.

The assessor of Livingston Parish sponsors “Assess the Need” to raise school funds in his parish. One of the donors to that campaign was asked why he supported this venture, and he responded, “For the same reason that I give blood; because I can.”

In The Advocate on July 22, we read about a New Zealand native kayaking the Mississippi River and raising funds for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research through his expedition.

Another story recounts why a group of LSU journalism students were honored for their service to The Foundation for Historical Louisiana.

Approaching the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we remember the pain and horror, but we can also cite the generosity and creativity of our community’s response. One example revolves around health care. The influx of patients overburdened LSU Earl K. Long Medical Center and other local emergency rooms, producing long waits for referral visits. So a group of local doctors and nurses created the Volunteer Health Corps to reduce the use of emergency rooms for non-emergency care in evening clinics.

In 2010, more than 100 volunteers, mostly doctors and nurses, provided nearly 1,500 patients with visits, saving the area emergency rooms well more than $1.5 million.

Evil abounds, but there are thousands of daily examples of how Americans, Louisiana and Baton Rouge area residents control their destiny by choices to serve and lead.

Susan Hymel

  • onprofit organization employee

Baton Rouge