This business of growing old and succumbing to arthritis, senility, loss of hearing, and all the other things that come with aging is not normally a pleasant undertaking.
This spring, however, I have had opportunities to become acquainted with a host of young people who have gone out of their way to make me feel young again — some young women who are members of the Chi Omega sorority on campus at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.
Service to humankind is not just something to do while on spring break for these young ladies. For them, it’s literally a way of life while they are in school. This spring they adopted as their cause Habitat for Humanity, the place where I work.
They hope to make their work touch as many bases as possible. Helping Habitat build more homes for hard-working, low-income families is worthwhile in and of itself. The girls are also collecting aluminum cans to be sold for recycling, with the proceeds going to Habitat.
They have already been able to touch two bases by helping rid the environment of cans and benefiting Habitat for Humanity in the process. Now if they can volunteer to answer phones at WEKU (88.9 FM) during that NPR station’s spring pledge drive wherein 84 Lumber gives Habitat a framing board for every pledge of money to the station, all of a sudden they are helping three good causes.
If they can enlist the aid of half a dozen fraternities and the football team, then all of a sudden the effort is a movement instead of a wild idea.
So let me tell you about Rachel Green and Madison Rostad, sisters at Chi Omega. I’m not sure what year of school they are in, but I do know they will be back this fall and I’ve never seen two more beautiful coeds this excited about gathering up beer and soda cans to fight for human needs on a number of fronts.
Since January of this year they have advertised, campus wide, and run contests to see which service organization can collect the most beverage cans on campus. My suspicion is that all they have to do is wink at the fraternity boys to get the beer cans bagged up, but they have been all over town drumming up support for the effort. Their effort is paying off.
Their work already has been worth several hundred dollars to Habitat, along with several hundred cubic yards of space being saved in landfills and precious resources being recycled back to help supply our country’s addiction to aluminum.
All of this is somewhat beside the point, because the amazing fact is that it is possible for old timers like me to commence having heroines younger than our grandchildren who are not engaged in music or acting or tennis or softball or some other athletic sport when true examples of heroism surround us in their own subdued ways.
Rachel and Madison are not interested in attention or acclaim. They are just dead set in their desire to lead people, old and young alike, toward a goal of doing the right and better thing.
I am oh so proud to count these young women among my friends and I’m so proud that they are recruiting their sisters at Chi Omega and the rest of the EKU Campus to our cause.
And I am so relieved to know, in certain terms, that our world is going to keep getting better and better because kids like Rachel and Madison are going to make darn sure that it happens.