Having lived in Fort Scott for just more than two years, I've found it's a town very supportive of its community members and generous to a fault.
When the Joplin tornado hit in May 2011, donations of provisions, time and energy from Fort Scott poured into that city. All sectors of the city pitched in whether it was volunteers, businesses or churches.
When the tsunami hit in October 2011, Liberty Theatre patrons who had gone to see a show by Kansas City singer Rudy Amato and band leader J.R. Farley raised $5,400 for the Red Cross for victims.
Closer to home, Fort Scottians are always willing to lend a hand, whether its through service organizations or just coming up with an idea on their own. Sean O'Brien recently held a feed to benefit family friend John Findley; 10-year-old Jayden Franklin, a student at Eugene Ware Elementary School, held a coat drive to benefit The Beacon, a local food pantry and community assistance agency.
The Beacon, Care to Share and Sharing Bucket are always at the ready to help those in need in Bourbon County, along with the United Way, which is now conducting its annual fund drive. Many agencies depend on the United Way for their funding, which goes to help local people in need.
There are 15 partner agencies this year including: American Red Cross Midway-Kansas, Keyhole Youth Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Ministerial Alliance Hospitality Fund, Bourbon County Senior Citizens, Mother to Mother Ministry, Boy Scouts Ozark Trails Council, Safehouse Crisis Center Inc., Care to Share/The Sharing Bucket, Southeast Kansas Respite Services Inc., Bourbon County 4-H, The Salvation Army, Kansas Legal Services, Tri-Valley Developmental Services and United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas.
Five things we'd like to see
1. More people involved -- or interested -- in public affairs.
2. People to realize that one person, along with others, can make a difference.
3. More people able to take care of themselves in Bourbon County.
4. More buildings filled in downtown Fort Scott.
5. More pride in the community.