Editorial: Generosity brings hope

GRANT SHIMMIN
Last updated 05:00 25/03/2014

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OPINION: Generousity of spirit. For the umpteenth time we've seen it demonstrated in a small community in the face of members of that community facing misfortune and hardship.

Brought on, it should be said, by some pretty unusual circumstances.

A vehicle hits a power pole, there's a power surge and, within seconds, a young family's home is burning.

Fortunately they all scramble to safety, but by the time the first fire appliances arrive on the scene, the home is on the way to being destroyed.

Even with the reassurance of knowing one's home is insured, it has to be heart-breaking to stand in the street and see it burn, powerless to do anything to save the memories it contains.

It struck me as notable that the one thing Simon and Samantha Norton, married just three weeks ago, grabbed, along with their kids, as they rushed to safety, was their laptop.

Because that may well contain important records, as well as photographs that they'd be unable to replace. Insurance can rebuild your house, but some truly special things are irreplaceable.

But back to where I started, because, again, major misfortune has brought forth that spirit of generosity that runs through our local communities.

The Pay It Forward Facebook page was already up and running, so drawing attention to the Nortons' plight was not difficult to do.

And pretty soon donations and offers of help were rolling in, to the point that, in the words of Samantha Norton, "we simply don't know where we're going to put it all".

What a testament that is to the caring nature of those around them - and it's a fair bet that the goods and help came from much further afield than just their home village, or even the nearby towns of Temuka, Orari and Geraldine.

The particular piece of thoughtfulness that really touched me in today's story was the card, left by a three-year-old, though presumably written by a parent, asking if the Nortons' son, Jack, wanted someone to play with.

In the aftermath of something as big as losing their home, there will undoubtedly be occasions when Jack's parents could do with some down time to work through what they've faced, and no doubt Jack could do with some normality in his young life. It may not be an offer with a monetary value attached, but it will go a long way to helping them process this devastating experience.

Well done, South Canterbury, for your unfailing generosity. You've allowed hope into a situation of despair.

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- The Timaru Herald

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