These days, it’s pretty easy to slip into a state of cynicism. Following state and federal budget problems, unemployment and a cycle of disagreement, we could hardly be blamed for not seeing the good in the world. But there are stories on the local level — ones that impact our community — that shine the light back to the positive side.
We have our share of crime on the Gig Harbor and Key peninsulas. Thankfully, it’s typically not serious in nature. Thefts, vandalism and other property crime is a nuisance, sure, but it’s not rape or murder.
That being said, the Gig Harbor Police Department and the Peninsula Detachment of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department can only cover so much ground. It’s especially difficult for deputies who patrol the unincorporated areas, such as Fox Island and the entire length of the Key Peninsula.
That’s where neighborhood crime watch organizations come in, and they’ve done a fantastic job to report suspicious activity. As our story on page A1 details, Citizens Against Crime on the Key Peninsula and the Fox Island Community and Recreation Association’s Crime Watch organization both do their part.
Due to the remote nature and lack of law enforcement resources, it’s sometimes up to vigilant bystanders such as Stan Weston, Cindy Worden and others to recognize locals, take note of those who don’t belong and keep in touch with deputies regarding community activity.
They also need to know the rules and not engage anyone they see committing a crime.
But that’s just part of what makes a community.
Outside of safety, we all need some type of support. Typically, that includes three meals a day and a roof over our heads. Sadly, that’s not always the case.
That’s where organizations such as the Gig Harbor/Peninsula FISH Food Bank come into play, and how it plays an important role for the peninsulas. At least one volunteer has gone to the Pierce County group of FISH food banks to represent the local branch and to ask the board to reconsider cutting hours at the facility off Burnham Drive Northwest.
Whether or not that effort is successful, it speaks volumes that people are willing to stand up and voice their opinion based on what they see as a significant need in this community.
Yet sometimes, help comes from an even more personal level. An elementary school principal woke up in the early morning hours earlier this month when a neighbor’s dog was barking, and Kristi Rivera realized her house was on fire. Rivera, her husband and children all made it out safely, but the Purdy Elementary principal said her house was destroyed. The fire was blamed on a motion-detector light that heated up a loose piece of wood.
The Purdy Elementary family immediately jumped to help as teacher Wanda Angus set up a fund at U.S. Bank on Stinson Avenue in Gig Harbor to accept donations.
Rivera said it’s been a difficult situation, but the things they lost can be replaced.
From crime watch, to social awareness, to rising up to take care of others in need, there are people in our communities who set their personal agendas aside and work for a common goal.
It’s where familiarity and community becomes the most valuable: the more effort people make to reach out to their neighbors, the safer their neighborhood will be. The more people volunteer their time to service organizations, the greater the overall impact.
We have construction projects and art exhibits, concerts downtown and Uptown, movies at parks — both at Skansie in Gig Harbor and Volunteer on the Key Peninsula. We have playground equipment that’s all-inclusive, city leaders who care about preserving history and charm, and students who study hard to reach academic and career goals.
Yes, bridge tolls are up, and they’ll likely keep going in that direction, there’s a healthy debate about building heights downtown, and property values have many underwater on their mortgages.
But where there’s a need in Gig Harbor, there are people there to help. That’s what community is all about.