Make a Difference

26 Apr 2016

Do you long to make a difference but find it harder than it seems? Here’s a lovely guest article by Amy Roemer that may convince you it’s easier than you think:

On a recent cross-country trip, my family stopped in the tiny village of Folsom in northern New Mexico. The ranching community only has 55 inhabitants and almost no businesses, a shadow of what it used to be. Once it had the largest stockyards north of Fort Worth, Texas, but the town never recovered after a devastating catastrophe.

It’s such a small place that when we arrived, we had to call a number to get the museum unlocked. The docent came and was so proud of the museum’s legacy that she eagerly shared local stories.

sally-rooke1We expected the museum to be about the primitive Folsom people, one of the earliest people groups in North America, but we were in for a surprise! We saw many antiques—from milk jugs and saddles to a dynamite detonator—from the founding and pioneer days in the late 1800s. Many of these were tagged with information—whose house it came from, and which family member had donated it. The sense of community was strong.

But what struck us was learning about Sally Rooke—who was the local telephone switchboard operator—and how she made a difference during the Dry Cimarron River flood of 1908.

Miss Sally received a call that a massive wall of water was heading down the canyon toward Folsom. She started calling friends and neighbors, warning them to head for higher ground. Eventually, the flood hit and wiped out the town. Sally was washed away from her post at the switchboard; her body was found some 12 miles down river along with livestock and only 16 others. Her phone calls that day saved many, many lives.

As we headed home, it struck me; even 50 miles from Folsom, no one would have likely ever heard of Sally Rooke. And yet, more than 100 years later, the descendants of her town still revere Miss Sally for her sacrifice that saved their grandparents’ lives.

She literally saved the town. Sally made a difference.

Click on image to enlarge

I have to ask myself: How can I make a difference where I live?

I don’t have to change the world; that’s way too big a task for me.

Sally didn’t save the world; she simply did her job and thereby rescued her friends.

What can you do right where you live? It doesn’t have to be huge. It could be just doing your job to the best of your ability. It could be taking food to a sick friend. It could be truly asking your neighbor, “How are you doing?”

We all have multiple opportunities to make a difference every day. Most of the time, it’s a matter of being attentive and being present when it counts. And everything counts.


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