News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Local veterans' groups, GE employees good neighbors

Sadly, many of us know little more about our neighbors than their names and lawn-care methods. The concept of neighbors volunteering to help one another in a time of need seems almost antiquated in today's fast-paced, impersonal society.

But 45 local General Electric employees — with financial assistance from local veterans' organizations — have banded together to provide free home and car maintenance for local families whose usual do-it-yourselfer is deployed overseas in the military.

Richard Smith, an Army veteran and current GE employee who came up with the idea, knows how difficult day-to-day living can be when a family member is deployed to defend our country. Water heaters sometimes fail, home heating and cooling systems quit, pipes leak and cars break down. Many times, those at home don't have the expertise or the money to make the repairs. It isn't as if they didn't already have enough to worry about with a loved one in harm's way.

Those families now have a resource to tap into — a good neighbor — when things don't work exactly as they should. With a simple telephone call, they can engage the services of these volunteer repairmen.

The state's Operation Grateful Heart coordinating office in Montgomery secured monetary donations from the Decatur American Legion to pay for parts and supplies needed for the repairs, and the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans posts also chipped in when they learned of the program.

The GE volunteers and local veterans' groups deserve our thanks. They are good neighbors in the traditional sense of the word.

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