The first was kind of hard to miss: All across Portsmouth, businesses and people alike were decked out in pink. Pink shirts, pink ribbons, pink balloons or even just pink paint could be seen virtually everywhere. The point of it all was to show support for breast cancer awareness and, as evidenced by all the pictures on the Daily Times’ Facebook page, it was an idea that really caught on.
SOMC was responsible for the effort and I commend them for it. It reflects well on them, but I think the ‘Pink Out’ also says a lot about this area as a whole. The fact so many individuals and businesses were willing to buy in and show their support is incredible. It’s a reminder to us all of just how close-knit and supportive this community can be.
But just in case SOMC’s ‘Pink Out’ didn’t get that message across, the Potters House and a band of about 80 volunteers reinforced it just two days later with Make A Difference Day.
I spent part of Saturday morning driving around town to see how many people were actually out trying to clean up the city to Make A Difference and I was surprised by what I saw. On nearly every street I turned down, there was somebody picking up litter or raking up leaves. I drove by City Auditor Trent Williams picking up garbage on Second Street in weather I knew to be uncomfortably cold. I later saw Portsmouth Mayor David Malone and Councilman Kevin Johnson returning from their clean-up efforts. I saw people who were either still cleaning or had recently finished all over the downtown area.
The fact so many people of varying ages and backgrounds took time out of their Saturday morning to pick garbage off the side of the road is not something I take lightly. That kind of thing sends a message: It says we care, and that’s a powerful message because it always has the potential to echo.
The truth is there’s nothing attractive about a city where the streets are littered and the buildings – as ‘historic’ as they may be – are filthy and abandoned. A city where the people support one another and care enough to clean those sites up, however?
Well, that’s a beautiful thing.
ERIC KEPHAS can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 234 or firstname.lastname@example.org