Proud of these Suffolk servants

Published 9:33 pm Monday, September 19, 2016

One of the best things about publishing a community newspaper is the opportunity to learn and share stories about the wonderful things people do for one another. To be sure, there are plenty of stories to go around about man’s inhumanity to man, and maybe that’s what makes the heartwarming stories that much better.

A couple of cases in Suffolk recently help make the point, and both involve public servants taking their commitment to service well beyond the call of duty.

Late last month, a group of firefighters was caught on camera by a passerby while they were in the middle of doing yard work at the private residence of George Griffith, their fire truck parked in front of his home. But there was nothing untoward taking place. The firefighters were doing the landscaping on their own time, having noticed during an earlier sick call to Griffith’s home that his lawn had grown out of control and that the Christmas decorations they had become used to seeing — even out of season — were gone from the home.

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Griffith, who had lost his wife to an extended illness in June, clearly needed a friend, and the firefighters were keen to be those friends by extending their hands to him in unrequested kindness.

Another public servant — this one in the public works department — similarly extended her own hand of friendship to a fellow city resident recently, directing an all-out search for a keychain that had been made for Susie Forsythe by her husband, who was lost to cancer in March. Forsythe had inadvertently thrown her keys, with keychain, into the trash and had not realized they were gone until one of the city’s trucks had picked up the trash and headed off for the rest of its pickup schedule.

After Forsythe called a friend, inconsolable in the loss of her cherished keepsake, that friend contacted a public works dispatcher, who began a series of her own calls that resulted in a search of the truck’s contents at the regional landfill. The story had a happy ending, as Forsythe was finally reunited with the keychain.

Sometimes, doing a kindness for others is a simple matter of holding a door or saying a kind word. Other times, it requires a bit of sweat and the willingness to dig into a pile of trash.

We’re proud to know we live in a city where public servants aren’t afraid to get a little dirty to show love and compassion to people they don’t even know.