Serving Barnwell County and it's neighbors since 1852

Letter to the Editor - A little “warmth” goes a long way


Dear Editor,

While traveling home from Europe Christmas Eve, I was in a bit of pain.

At a Rotary luncheon some years ago, Dr. Marty Shealy advised how you shouldn’t let your pain become a forest fire before you get help. His advice was to put out fires while small… more manageable.

In 2011 I became a Rotarian through sponsorship. I was just getting established in Barnwell and began a challenging new role with United Way. John McHenry was simul­taneously President of Barnwell’s Rotary Club and my board chair. John knew I was encountering homelessness on a regular basis. One day he asked me to stop by Regions and presented me with a massive box of hand warmers. He said he didn’t have a solution for our bigger problem, but he knew sharing a little warmth always helps.

Going back to my recent pain… Blake had some hand warmers in his winter coat and gave them to me, hoping to offer relief. As I stepped into the bathroom on a nine hour flight, I was comforted by the warmth shared with me when I needed it most. I remembered John’s gesture and teared up.

I’m writing to share Marty’s and John’s advice and also to offer information about vital community organizations and endeavors.

Rotarians aren’t just a lunch club. Rotarians are community-minded leaders working together with a commitment of service, helping others, finding solutions and offering comfort. If you are new to Barnwell, need to get connected in business or outreach, give Rotary a try.

Did you know the Point In Time Count to assess homelessness in Barnwell County is coming up January 24-28?

Did you know United Way’s grant applications are due January 11?

Local non-profits and churches can apply for funding and help your community in so many ways. Individuals and families are served by local agencies who receive funding from United Way. Employee giving campaigns in Barnwell County and beyond share warmth, offer hope, and so much more. Every dollar and kind gesture makes a difference; your encouragement and example have lasting influence and impact.

A little warmth always helps!

Jess Wilbanks,

Palmetto, Ga.

(formerly of Barnwell)