Unsung heroes

During one of my story interviews a while ago, I talked with a widow of a Vietnam veteran who told me the story of her husband’s life.

The story ran in our publication quite a while ago, and readers were introduced to an extraordinary tale of a man who served his country with passion.

What you didn’t find in that story is the tale of the passion his widow has for life and community.

I think it’s a story worth sharing as well.

I only spent a couple hours with Sharon Cusick. Mostly, we discussed her husband and his military service. But when we finished the interview, we started chatting about life and what brought us both to the Iowa Great Lakes area. Sharon is not a lifelong resident of the area, but she says it’s always felt like home because of the friendliness of people here. She makes a point of opening her home and heart, an on a mundane average day at work, she found a way to make my day special in an unexpected way – by reminding me of all the special people who have walked in and out of my life.

“We walk by some people every day of our lives, and we never really see them,” said Sharon about the attitude found in many urban areas.

One of the multitude of benefits of living in a small area is that we rarely fail to see people. We smile at grocery stores, say hello when walking the family pet and strike up random conversations in the waiting room. We see people, and we honor those who make a difference.

This week’s issue of the Dickinson County News holds my favorite annual special publication – Portraits of the Iowa Great Lakes. Each year, the staff of the Dickinson County News writes a dozen feature stories illuminating the lives of Lakes area personali- ties who are making a difference.

Some of these people spend a good deal of time in the spotlight, and their deeds seldom go unnoticed. Others are more like my friend Sharon Cusick; their life’s work is much less visible, but no less important. They are the faces we see every day – the people we enjoy running into because they bring a smile, a laugh, or a thought we might not have had if it weren’t for their existence.

The Dickinson County News staff hopes you enjoy the 2008 issue of Portraits of the Iowa Great Lakes. And please let us know what faces you would like to see in the 2009 issue.