Street View – Paying It Forward


Stories that get your attention usually involve some negative event like a house fire or a police action.  It’s all too rare that stories of selflessness get a forum.  Thankfully this is one of those “fun” stories to share.

Going to Price Chopper is part of my routine.  It’s a ho-hum type of activity that is one of those necessities of life, but this trip on Saturday was inspiring.  I’m used to seeing potted plants, pumpkins, or other seasonal fare out front of the store, but this was altogether different.  As I approached the main door, I saw a group of young people in Santa hats ringing bells at the Salvation Army kettle.  I found out that this group was 7th graders that attend Pioneer Middle School and was organized by Mrs. Amber Bright and her son Cooper.

This is an annual event for the Bright family.  Amber is modest about it, but explained that she signs up each year to have her and/or her children “ring the bell” and collect donations for the Salvation Army.   This year she asked her son, Cooper, if he would like to invite friends and the response was over-whelming.   In the process they collected $91.63 in just two hours for the charity.  Seeing the younger set doing charitable work is inspiring enough, but this has added dimension.  Cooper was doing this as part of his church activity and in part his birthday party.

This is the Gardner I’ve come to know.  A city inhabited by the most generous and charitable people anywhere.  Whether it’s a food drive or helping to find a lost pet, the people of Gardner, Ks. are always ready to help.  There are so many untold stories like this in our community that doesn’t get attention and need to be told.

My hat is off to Mrs. Amber Bright, her son Cooper and all the kids who came out to celebrate his birthday by giving back to the community and an outstanding charity.   You are an inspiration to us all.   These are the stories we need to see a lot more.