Everyone needs help at some point in their lives

Published 10:30 am Saturday, November 27, 2010

What does Live United mean to me?

I have been involved with the United Way of Freeborn County for more than 11 years in many different aspects, and I must say that I continually am learning new things, meeting new people and being amazed at how committed and caring people can be for one another.

Brad Kirchner, Guest Column

Live United, to me, means being there to help the people around you who need it the most. It mean recognizing that everyone can need help at some point in their life and making sure that we each do everything we can to help those in need. I have always thought that it was important to help others whenever possible because you never know when you, yourself, are going to need help.

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I believe the best saying I have heard is “paying it forward.” It seems to me that life constantly throws you challenges, and you can’t always overcome everything without help. Believing in your community, your neighbors and the people around you is the best possible investment that you can make. Everything leads you back home at some point and time. I can’t imagine a world without people helping people.

Through my experiences with United Way, I have seen some pretty tough situations and seen them turned into happy endings due to the kindness and generosity of others who cared enough to make an effort to help. I look at my own kids and see the influences and things that they are exposed to in daily life. Their innocent eyes see material objects as an important focus to strive for.

My wife and I are teaching them that these are not the most fulfilling things to focus on in life. Your importance in life is not what you have, but what you do with what gifts you have to offer, whether that be donations, talents or your time. Gifts can come in all shapes and forms.

I think it is important for us all to realize that we can all fall on hard times at any point in our lives, and I for one, want to be sure that I have helped whomever I can through life so that if I ever need help, I have hope that someone will help me.

It sounds corny, but if we all looked out for one another consistently, we could solve a lot of the issues in our world.

United Way has fantastic agencies that do things for our community that you and I are not capable of.

They are trained and experienced in areas where we would be lost. In my job, I am always trying to maximize my client’s dollars and get them the best possible return on their investment. Living United for me is no different. I want to take the generosity of others and maximize their dollars, their time, their efforts and their talents, so that the recipients can maximize their daily living from these donations. It is important to point out that Live United means something different to every person and there is no right or wrong definition.

The important thing is to realize that you should figure out what Live United means to you and do it. It is easy to talk about it and say you are going to do it, but the reality is that life is so busy that good intentions can easily go unused or get pushed onto the back burner.

One of the greatest things I have ever experienced is to listen to people who have been helped by one of the agencies supported by United Way. You can’t imagine how thankful they are and how they felt no one cared, and there was no one to turn to, but then came hope.

Imagine something so overwhelming, that you have no idea how you will overcome it, and then there’s hope.

That’s Living United to me.

I consider myself very blessed to understand this concept and my holiday wish for you would be that you understand it to and embrace it. There is no better feeling in the world than knowing you helped someone. Remember, the person you help today just might be the person that helps you in the future. Thanks for supporting the United Way of Freeborn County.

Brad Kirchner is a board member for the United Way of Freeborn County.