Two recent events spotlighted the true character of Centre County: That we are willing to take big steps to support and honor each other.
We were moved by the army of volunteers who descended upon a Walker Township home to help the family of Donald Robson.
The 40-year-old father collapsed and died while working on the roof of his home on July 9.
This past week, friends, neighbors and members of local churches and businesses stepped in to finish the work.
The planning began after Robsons untimely passing and culminated this past week, when about 30 volunteers showed up with lumber, shingles, hammers and saws for no reason other than the desire to reach out to someone who could use the help.
A Robson family member, touched by the scene on Monday, said: We dont feel were deserving of all of this.
Despite recent troubling events, this is what our region is all about: Compassion. Generosity. A giving and uplifting spirit.
That mindset was on display a week ago, when the family of Chris Brown took to the skies in tribute to the respected State College man who was killed in a skydiving accident on July 7 just two days before Robsons death.
Brown, an experienced diver, died when his parachute didnt open during a jump in Mifflin County. He was a member of the organization Skydive Happy Valley.
Family members and friends returned to the Mifflin County Airport on Aug. 11 and some of them took a leap from an airplane for the first time in their lives to show how much the man meant to them.
Scott Snyder, of York, Browns son, was among those who donned parachutes and jumped. Snyder said the act helped him cope with his fathers passing and brought a degree of closure.
He was joined in the skydive by his sister, Ryan Moore, and uncle, Curt Brown.
It was important with the healing process, Snyder said.
Curt Brown said of his motivation for jumping: If they dont understand why Im doing it already, then I cant explain it to them.
It was a powerful statement to honor a man who were told had touched numerous lives.
Just like so many in Centre County. Were farmers and road workers, teachers and researchers, doctors and lawyers, firefighters and police officers, counselors and marketers.
We work at banks, restaurants and retail stores.
Were directors, planners, designers and builders.
And we do care about the people in our midst, as these two incidents so richly reminded us.
Jeff Neff is missions coordinator at Faith United Methodist Church in Bellefonte, which performs many community projects and organized the outreach effort in Walker Township.
Neff said he was amazed at how many people just came out of the woodwork to help.
We, too, were amazed but not really surprised.
Stories such as this happen frequently across Centre County, often outside the spotlight.
People learn of someone facing a hardship, and take action.
As Janie Mattern, one of the many volunteers at the Robson house, said: Its those kind of things that are just remarkable. This is just what we should do.