Made a difference

After weeks of writing about various issues pertaining to the midterm elections, I’m delighted to be able to shift gears.

With the holidays approaching, that means I get to write about what has become an annual tradition at The Daily Item — our “People Who Make A Difference” series of stories.

You may have already seen the little box inviting nominations that we have been running since Tuesday.

Each year since I arrived as editor in 2015, we have solicited suggestions from readers about people who have had a genuine impact on our communities.

This will be our fourth year, and I’m hoping we’ll get more nominees than ever.

As regular readers know, I spent eight years working at USA TODAY before coming here, and many years before that working for Gannett Co. Inc., its parent company.

During those years, the company launched “Make A Difference Day.”

That program began in 1992 with a simple concept. Since it was a leap year, the suggestion was made to spend the “extra” day doing some community service.

Leap year or not, that program still exists and is staged the final Saturday of October each year.

Involvement with that program provided the impetus for me to begin what has become a yearly series of stories about the many Susquehanna Valley people who contribute to making their communities better every day.

Actually, we write about people who are generous with their time and talents all year long. Just in the past week or so, for example:

n We published a story about the families who found room in their homes and their hearts to adopt children.

n We ran a piece about Rhonda Fisher, who coordinates the annual Thanksgiving meal at the Zion Lutheran Social Hall in Sunbury.

n We did a story about volunteers in Lewisburg who worked to package 10,000 meals for the Rise Against Hunger worldwide program.

We’re incredibly blessed to have so many people willing to pitch in to help those in need and to make community life a little bit better.

For our series of stories, which we will once again publish between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, we ask that you send us an email at Please include “Make A Difference” in the subject line, and then write a few paragraphs explaining why you are nominating the person you would like to see profiled.

We will get back in touch with you about your nominations and choose eight people to profile from among them.

Thank you in advance for helping us to produce this worthwhile series. And thanks, most especially, to the many people who deserve to be recognized. We will include the names and affiliations of all the nominees along with the stories.


One other Daily Item holiday tradition will return on Thanksgiving Day, with reporter Justin Strawser’s story about the 2018 Needy Family Fund.

Since 1987, The Needy Family Fund, sponsored by The Daily Item, Sunbury Broadcasting Corp. and BB&T Bank, along with the Degenstein Foundations, has raised more than $2.8 million to assist the Valley’s less fortunate. It is administered by Salvation Army citadels in Milton and Sunbury.

We hope you’ll join us in making this program a success again this year.

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