Saw on the news about an African woman who was recognized as a hero for establishing computer labs throughout impoverished communities in her country.  So admirable.  She certainly deserves the recognition and applause,  no question about it.

BUT——–it brings to mind all the unrecognized  ” heroes ” who,  on a much smaller scale, make  a BIG difference, one little step at a time.  I refuse to use the term  “unsung” because it’s a cliche that has lost its meaning.

I prefer  ” heroes in their own way, in their own time ” ,    old school.     Meaning ?     They see a need ,  respond ,  receive little or no recognition, but , still ,  take TINY steps that make a REAL difference.

I’ll share four vignettes, covering approximately 80+ years.

George Haley and Friends :

In the 30s and 40s, in a small Southern town, my daddy , and others like him,  took it upon themselves to fill any and all needs that arose for poor children in the community. This was during and following the Great Depression, and times were tough for many.   That meant purchasing  school lunches,  furnishing  school supplies,  buying clothes, paying for medical care and responding to any other situations that might occur.  All done privately,  no fanfare……..and with no questions asked,  no request for family  financial information,  no judgment.   Just plain and simple helping out.

And —-no government interference or mandates.

Just good people doing good works.


Jo Ann Brown Ellington :

And then in the 60s my childhood friend and college roommate and her Presbyterian minister husband ,  spent many years in Africa, in an impoverished area deep in the continent.  Jo Ann’s daddy was Clerk of Court in Franklin County and Jo Ann was an Emory graduate and a registered nurse——-always doing for others.

During their extended stay, John translated the entire Bible into the local dialect while Jo Ann did pap smears for thousands of African women, referring them for medical help and saving untold numbers of lives.  During her free time she made “britches ” ( out of corduroy that Byron could get from his company,  Barrow Manufacturing,   in Winder )  for the tiny African boys who had none.

Just  good people doing good works.


Ed Bryant, Franklin County Superintendent of Schools :

In the decade of the 60s and on into the 70s, 80s, and even 90s, a highly respected educator in Franklin County, paid for lunches for innumerable poor children. Not stopping there,  as these same children aged and developed, he paid for their college or vocational  education, ensuring that they would become productive citizens…….and someday pass it forward.

And then some few years before he died, he established a foundation ( The Ed Bryant Foundation )  for elementary teachers in Franklin County , giving them the opportunity to apply for classroom needs.  This foundation continues to function under the auspices of a board ,  still providing and enhancing.

Ed Bryant , lifetime bachelor and educator, not only shared his money on many levels, but he gave his time and energy far beyond what was required of any Superintendent.   An example of that was cutting and caring for the football field at Franklin County High School——– on his own time and on his own dime  !

Just a good person doing good works.


Local cafe owner :

And today a busy small restaurant filled daily for breakfast and lunch.  Home cooking at its best.  Paying customers enjoying a belly full : mac and cheese, fried chicken, black-eyed peas, cornbread, and on and on.

But here’s the back story : some regulars have no money to pay; some regulars don’t show; some regulars are handicapped in one way or another.

But the food is always given to the less fortunate  with no fanfare, no big show of charity, no embarrassment for giver or recipient.  And when there’s a no-show, food is delivered by the cafe owner to the one in need.

Just a good person doing good works.


( And just this week-end, a  “tip o’ the hat” to my friend,  Mike Smith ) !


Only these few out of many.   Hebrews 13:2 refers to them as  ” angels unawares “.   They live among us, quietly making a better community, a better nation, a better world.