Jared Felkins' Column: 2 distinctly different weekend events attain common goal

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”  
Nov 24, 2012

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”  
— Mother Teresa
A week ago, I awoke way too early after helping on the sports desk during quarterfinal prep football action. But it was my agenda that lifted my heavy head from my fluffy warm pillow.
I was on a mission to chronicle those who help others. It was a unique cornucopia of events on my plate this day but special in their own way.
The Wilson County Fairgrounds was my first destination to attend the Empower Me Christmas Camp. Originally, my plan was to take my family to the event.
My wife and I felt that by showing our children a sense of both charity and thankfulness. Alas, in their fight with the pillows, however, the pillows won. There is the proverbial next time.
Still wiping the sleep out of my eyes even at 11 a.m., I was greeted by an enthusiastic Michelle Hill with Empower Me Day Camp immediately as I walked through the door.
Everyone was enjoying pizza for lunch as I readied and steadied my camera to grab a few shots.
It might be important to say right now that I don’t consider myself a photographer. I do know what F-stop and ISO are and do on a camera and I have won a handful of awards for my photos, but I would label myself a person who takes pictures. The two should not be confused.
Often when taking pictures, especially of people, I like to catch them in a natural pose and setting. I’m not particularly a big fan of what we call “grip and grin” photos.
But my whole attitude changed when the special needs children and adults would notice me and shoot me a big grin through my viewfinder.
Once lunch, followed by a dessert of M&Ms, Oreos and brownies, was finished, some real fun started. Those participating were led into a side room aptly called “Santa’s Workshop,” where they could pick out one gift.
It was absolute excitement to see how appreciative and joyful they were to get the presents.
From there, the participants continued to work on crafts they started before lunch. With a full camera card and heart, I made my exit, but not before thanking Michelle for inviting me.
After collecting the rest of the family and making a quick stop to swap cameras at the office, we were off for an adventure. This time our quest led us to the Stardust Drive-in in Watertown for an afternoon of country music with Bucky Covington.
Covington, an American Idol finalist, has undoubtedly been around the world entertaining crowds of all sizes.
This day, he was in Watertown entertaining what could have been a much bigger crowd given the weather and the cause. He was there to benefit the Mt. Juliet Help Center and Bridge Fellowship, two wonderful causes that help people across Wilson County.
We arrived just in time for some VIP treatment. Now, having young children, I really didn’t know what to expect when they met Bucky. I knew – and I think he did, too – they didn’t really know who he was. But he was gracious and signed an autograph for my son. He even posed with them for a picture. It was a priceless moment and another example of people helping people.
We hung around for a few songs, and I was able to get some more pictures of Bucky in action. I have to say, I’m really not a fan of the genre, but Bucky really put on a quality show. That says a lot about his character.
By the way, make sure to stop by spotted.lebanondemocrat.com to see all the pictures (worth posting) from the day.
This past week, I reflect on the several stories we offered on those who lend a helping hand at Thanksgiving, as well as those who are getting ready to give aid at Christmas. As a two-month resident of Lebanon and Wilson County, it makes my heart full to know all this is going on in our community.
I know I’m looking for some ways to get involved as the holidays are upon us and plan to continue the effort into 2013. If you’re not involved, join me, and we’ll do it together.
This is a wonderful place with some truly giving, selfless people, but we can never do enough. We can certainly do more if we all get involved, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.  
Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s director of content. He may be reached at 615-444-3952 or jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com.

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