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Letter from the Editor: A Special Level of Selflessness

by on March 29, 2018 4:46 PM

Sometimes it’s the great stuff in our own back yard that we take most for granted.

I was thinking about this as we put together this issue of Town&Gown.

April is National Volunteer Month, dedicated to honoring those who volunteer in their communities, and to encouraging volunteerism.

Each year in April, Town&Gown celebrates volunteers who make a difference in our own community. This year we focus on emergency medical technicians and a couple who gives their time to help feed residents in need through the State College Food Bank.

I had the pleasure of interviewing a group of volunteer EMTS from Penns Valley EMS, as well as a long-time volunteer EMT for Centre LifeLink.

One thing they talked about that really struck me is how they often see people on one of the worst days of their lives. They’re there at the accident scene, they come to your home when there’s a medical emergency. The people they meet are often distraught.

That takes some real inner strength for anyone, and these folks are doing it for no pay.

Asked why they take on such a tough job, which requires hours of training, they have an answer in common: they do it because they want to help.

It sounds almost cliché, but listening to them talk about what they do, it’s clear that they mean it. It really is as simple as that.

These folks embody a special level of selflessness you rarely find.

We also have a story this month on the art and science of tying flies. Trout season begins in Centre County April 14, and we enjoy some of the best fly-fishing streams in the country. For avid fly-tiers, the passion and camaraderie that bonds them is something special. They are living the good life.

And we profile a hidden gem in Centre County, Penn State’s PAC Herbarium. I’ll admit I didn’t know what a hebarium was before this story came up. Simply put, the PAC houses more than 100,000 cool plant specimens, some dating back to the mid-1800s. These plant specimens help unlock a wealth of knowledge on everything from climate change to forest management to the plants growing in your back yard. It’s a community resource.

Finally, you’ll again find our reader survey on pages 54 and 55, and also at We’ve had a great response since launching the survey in February. If you haven’t had a chance yet, please take a few minutes to give us your feedback. And thanks to those who have filled it out!




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