Seems like Christmas brings out the good in most. Donations and acts of kindness tend to tick up this month. Following a steady diet of news stories that are depressing, infuriating and frightening, it's good to press the pause button and think a bit about all the good people doing good things. Problem is they don't make Page 1 or the top of newscasts.

So here's to those heroes and heroines whose kindness and generosity are not just a Christmas thing but a year-round or lifelong commitment. Thank you. Bless you, and may your spirit be more contagious than any cold or flu. We really need you.

Patti Hicks, a teacher who always keeps healthy treats squirreled away in her desk because her kids don't always have enough to eat or forget their lunches.

Judge Jim Walther, whose concern about Lorain County veterans struggling with life issues that land them in court established a solid, but tough, program to get vets the help they need so they can have good lives and feel good about their contributions to society.

The knitting group at Domonkas Library, who create pretty knitted or crocheted hats and lap blankets for those undergoing cancer treatment.

Employees at a local convenience store who warmly greet their older customer, help him carry heavy bags to his car and accept special orders without complaint.

Superhero kids, who despite facing life-threatening illnesses, have invaded Avon every year the past four years to save the city from villains – and the city officials, families and businesses supporting the event.

Elected officials who put their egos and personal agendas in their back pockets knowing they were elected to serve all, not themselves and their donors.

First responders.

The friendly cashier who waits patiently while some make change, packs groceries with a smile and keeps the line moving.

North Ridgeville resident Robyn Ringwall, who worked tirelessly to support the school district's efforts to build new elementary and high school buildings as well as a performing arts center. She also promotes Center Ridge Road businesses impacted by a lengthy construction project.

North Olmsted's Beth Roshetko, who loves educating children in different settings, including St. Clarence Catholic Church and Ascension Lutheran Early Childhood Center. Through her interaction with children, she is able to identify recipients of North Olmsted Education Foundation scholarships.

Westlake businesses and residents who beautify their community during the annual Westlake in Bloom program.

Volunteers who cuddle, feed, bathe, play with and walk shelter pets anxiously waiting to be adopted.

Avon Lake's Dave Kos, whose “little” Halloween volunteer project now entertains thousands who visit the annual Haunted Trail and who then turns right around to help with Toys for Tots.

Avon's Clint Gault and associates, who light up Avon during its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Festival.

Dennis Rehor, whose decades-long commitment to Fairview Park led to the completion of the Gemini Project and the creation of the Fairview Park Athletic Club and who completed two four-year school board terms while maintaining a legal practice and raising six children with wife, Tricia.

Teachers and coaches who stay late to help a kid improve a skill.

Ryan Hill, a Westlake sixth-grader, who collected collected thousands of pairs of socks for the homeless.

The librarian who always has a great book recommendation.

Tom Phillips, a lifelong Bay Village resident whose quest saved the historic Reuben Osborn home, now a learning center where he regularly educates visitors about the history of the city.

Gabrielle Sagnes, who has worked tirelessly to decorate the hallways at various Sheffield school buildings – and the folks whose donations make it possible.

Diners who remember to be kind to servers and tip like they are family members.

Fairview Park police officer Adam Reyes, who joined 8-year-old Jayden Wilson to make sure he had someone to walk with on Walk Your Father to School Day. Jayden's dad had passed away a year earlier.

Molly C. of Rocky River, who always has a helpful, amazingly patient way of working with a bunch of creative types without ruffling feathers and feelings while waging her own battle against cancer.

The neighbor who readily offers a helping hand.

The generous souls who volunteer their time and write checks to support countless nonprofit organizations and churches.

Freelancer Michele Murphy can be contacted at avonlakemurphy@gmail.com.

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