Some things change; many things remain the same.

It is a new year — the traditional time we decide to change our lives — hopefully for the better. We make all these grand resolutions of things we know we should do — and often they only last a few days or a few months if we're really serious.

Monday at a New Year's dinner we talked about what our goals were for the year. Well, talked is an extreme. We each named something (or nothing) that we thought was a goal. Then we moved on to other topics.

About that time the fire alarm sounded and my nephew left to join others fighting a fire. Like I said, some things never change.

I hear far too often these days about the "young people" who don't join civic organizations or social groups. I hear some people think "they" (the younger generation) don't care. It really makes me wonder which "young people" they are watching.

I recently took a trip by bus to Columbus, Ohio, to visit my son and granddaughter. It was interesting to say the least. But I did notice one thing which really struck me this time: The younger generation seemed to go out of their way to offer help, to have a friendly conversation to make me feel welcome — not just on the bus but in the city.

It was also interesting to see a young woman correct an employee who was being very disrespectful to a fellow bus rider. The woman said, "You don't have to be disrespectful to him." The employee answered, "I wasn't." She corrected him and he walked away. I had to admire her for speaking up while the rest of us just stood there.

I thought about these young people I have seen or have heard (through a fire monitor in action) and I could not imagine why anyone thinks "they" don't care.

It was cold Monday when firefighters from quite a few different departments left their home on a holiday to offer assistance to someone they did not know and would probably never see again. They appeared to work well together, following directions from a calm fire chief who seemed to really know what he was doing. And so did the other volunteers.

They were the perfect example of some of the younger generation who cares about the community. They don't do it for the glory (there really isn't any); they don't do it for the pay (there isn't any); they don't do it to get their name in the paper or their face on TV. They do it because they want to help someone in times of emergency.

I thought about the young people on the buses, the ones fighting the fire, the ones shoveling snow for others to make life easier, the emergency medical technicians running toward an accident to offer assistance, etc.

And I could not help but think that our community should be really proud of these young people who often go unheralded, who often are not noticed, but who still volunteer — not because it's required or looks good on a resume, but because they care.

They may not "run" in the same social circles as others; they may not always do what some think they should.

But somehow this week I saw again that the younger generation answers the call the same as the generations did before them. And Crawford County can be proud to have them as part of our community.

Jean Shanley is retired from The Meadville Tribune where she was communities and society editor.

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