02/22/2007
The slogan 'Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty' has appeared on bumper stickers throughout Vermont and beyond, courtesy of Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream.

The sentiment, sentimental as it is/was, might more appropriately read "Vermonters -- practicing deliberate acts of kindness whenever needed." Sometimes it takes a disaster to remember that we're all in this together and that was made clear again last week when a portion of a local dairy barn collapsed.

It takes a deliberate act of kindness, but much more than that, for firefighters to trudge through a blizzard to help a dairy farmer.

It takes a deliberate act of kindness, but much more, for a heavy equipment and plow operator -- at the height of plowing and clean up -- to divert personnel and equipment to a cow rescue and recovery effort.

It takes deliberate acts of kindness to chorale a state plow; it takes deliberate acts of kindness for EMTs, trained to work with humans, to come try to save the cows nonetheless -- or be on hand for the rescuers.

It's a deliberate act that sends someone to the site of the collapse to measure for new foundation posts and install them, and for someone else to begin milling the lumber for a replacement barn and for someone else to purchase the electrical supplies and someone else to provide workers.

When the Turner heifer barn collapsed last week during the Valentine's Day blizzard, no one hesitated to help if it was possible. When it became apparent that insurance wouldn't suffice and the state legislature would not come through, local individuals and organizations stepped up to the plate to do what they can.

In communities large and small, acts of kindness are always committed deliberately -- they are extended in recognition of neighbors needing help, in hopes that by helping we may assuage the pain of those who are suffering and in recognition that we may also need that help someday.

It's great to practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty never hurt anyone. But a deliberate act of kindness acknowledges a fellow human being in need and reaches out to help.

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