Every day in Orange County, countless people wake up hungry, homeless, sick and scared. They need food, clothing, shelter and medical care. They also need to know that someone really does care about what happens to them--and truly wants to help.
Fortunately, there are people who care, and who help. Some do it quietly, almost unnoticed, spending hours in volunteer service or performing professional duties well above and beyond what is usual and expected. For them, it is a labor of love.
Although they do not seek it, that kind of concern about what happens to others deserves recognition, not only to honor them but to bring to the community's attention the great need for more residents to react with the same spirit.
Fortunately, the Orange County Human Relations Commission does try to find those who give of themselves and to acknowledge their contributions to humanity.
Last week 18 Orange County residents were so recognized for a variety of efforts in such areas as neighborhood gang violence, adolescent pregnancy, interfaith study, AIDS education and awareness and for championing the rights and needs of the handicapped, the poor, the homeless and other residents in need.
The community, too, should thank Albert Chu, Sister Armida Deck, Brenda Dickerson, Mary Erickson, Patricia Gomez-Lopp, Jose Cruz Gonzalez, the Rev. George B. Grose, Peg Hall, Bob Johnson, Pearl Jemison-Smith, Natalie Luther Kennedy, Alan Serge Kunski, Vicki Mayster, Mary Perez, Bob Pusavet, Officer John Reed, Leticia Vargas and Pedro Vasquez.
Their names may not make an impact, but their efforts do. Some politicians see people as constituents or campaign donors. Some bureaucrats see people as cases or numbers. The 18 people honored by the Human Relations Commission see people as people.