Helping Hands event a fine tribute

It is amazing what the people of Sampson County accomplish when asked to step up to the plate and help others. We keep saying it because we keep seeing it, time and again — exhaustive, wonderful, exhilerating assistance from individuals and businesses who are asked to help, and who do.

Such was the case over the weekend with the Helping Hands of Sampson County, a massive community-driven endeavor spearheaded by Chris Sessoms and undertaken by countless volunteers and church members from one end of Sampson to another.

Helping Hands culminated Saturday at the Agri-Exposition Center with a mammoth feed for the county’s first-responders, an appreciative pat on the back offered to deputies, police officers and emergency service crews for what they do every day for the citizens of Sampson County.

The event was designed to applaud our first responders even as it fed them, a thank you for the selfless acts they perform to help so many during times of crisis.

The undertaking involved elementary students from the city and county schools as well as Sampson’s two major Christian school, area churches, Tarheel ChalleNGe and the Boy and Girl Scouts, not to mention community members from all walks of life.

But it extended well beyond those tireless individuals. It spread across Sampson with giving hearts big enough to reach out and help ensure that the Helping Hands project was a successful endeavor. By event’s opening, over $40,000 had been raised, a tremendous financial boon that added the exclamation point to the thank you committee members and volunteers were trying to offer.

The money was raised within the community, with people from all walks of life contributing what they could. It was those contributions plus the countless offered hands of help that ensured Saturday was the success it turned out to be from start to finish.

Our hat is off to every single person who helped make the Helping Hands event possible. It was a mammoth undertaking but one we predicted from the start would be everything and more that Sessoms had hoped.

Helping Hands of Sampson County was a means of giving back, one of many such opportunities afforded to us as residents in any given year.

In true Sampson fashion, this endeavor got the support it needed, and it did exactly what Sessoms and her volunteer group of 58 hoped — it touted the efforts of the men and women, as Sessoms says, “who risk their lives on a daily basis for our health and safety.”

It’s true that our first responders deserve the public pat-on-the-back. While they would tell you what they do is their job, we all know it’s far more than a job. Helping the sick and injured in often crisis situations is more a calling than merely a profession. And the all-in attitude these men and women take with them into every situation is often far more than the job, itself, demands.

Showing that they are appreciated in such a public way was a good morale booster, and a much earned tribute to those men and women.

Sessoms, her volunteer group and every single person who contributed or helped in some way should rest good at night knowing that they did something special for someone else.