To paraphrase an old saying, people are like tea bags: You only know their true strength when they are in hot water.
Only time will tell how the NCAA sanctions will fully affect the local economy, but
theres one thing thats already been determined. Not only can this community withstand the hot water, but well actually dive into it to help a friend or neighbor.
At a recent Chamber of Business and Industry Centre County meeting, business leaders came together to voice their concerns about the possibility of an economic downturn in this region and to brainstorm strategies for emerging from this crisis a stronger community. The general consensus seemed to be that our economic future, despite the challenges before us, looks bright.
It is this kind of optimism and resolve that make ours a special community.
Recent events have presented an opportunity for people to rally together and focus on what makes us a strong and cohesive community. Few things accomplish this better than people coming together to help one another.
Area businesses have always looked out for the needs of this community. One need only examine the ranks of United Way campaign committees to see a whos who in business in Centre County.
Similarly, one need only look at the hospital, the YMCA, the State Theatre or countless other community resources to comprehend the generosity in Happy Valley.
Even in times like this especially in times like this the outstretched hands we see are those of neighbor helping neighbor.
I have no doubt that area businesses will continue to give back to this community with the same generous, caring spirit they have in the past. They will continue to sponsor fundraising events such as charity golf tournaments, road races and musical performances. They will continue their quiet work of volunteerism in the community as well.
Ask members of any nonprofit in town and they will tell you that Happy Valley has plenty of groups that cheerfully share their time and talents with those in need. Theres a reason, after all, that the name Happy Valley stuck.
Our thoughts and prayers will always be with the victims of Jerry Sanduskys terrible crimes. Just as the victims will slowly begin to heal as justice is served, so too will our community be restored. As this collective journey toward healing, renewal and growth begins, we can already see the evidence of our enduring values as a community.
As the CBICC meeting concluded, I reflected on how blessed we are to live and work in Centre County. Whether the water is hot or cold, our hearts are warm. And a warm heart, a loving heart, is all people need to help their neighbors weather the storm.
Susanna Jech Paul is the coordinator for development and community relations for Housing Transitions Inc.