Local news around here has followed a familiar trajectory: the Olympics, Garibaldi at Squamish, Oceanfront Development, the electronic billboard issue, a sprinkling of police blotter reportage, and so on.
Behind the big ticket stories a lot of equally important events take place, silently and unobtrusively.
Despite their humble status, they say just as much as the major headlines declare about our priorities and who we are.
The last thing most of us would consider is taking a 20-hour flight and spending 10 days in some far flung outpost in a war torn Third World country. When long time Squamish resident George Zimmerman's boss asked him if he would be interested in visiting Rwanda to supervise a company sponsored construction project George jumped at the chance.
Who can forget Rwanda, the epicentre of a devastating civil war and ensuing genocide in the mid '90s that claimed over a million victims and left a wide swath of destitution, and untold numbers of widows and orphans?
George works for Squamish-based Pelling Industries, who specialize in renovations, alterations and construction. For several years now the company has done charitable work in Rwanda for Home of Hope, an aid organization based in Red Deer, Alberta.
Home of Hope initiates a variety of projects and helps hundreds of impoverished children through a monthly sponsorship program. An equally important objective is to rebuild devastated economies by providing loans for start-up businesses and training for residents in the necessary skills to sustain their communities.
During his stay in Rwanda, George was called on to assist in the construction of water storage tanks funded by Pelling Industries. He saw destitution first hand, especially among children.
"A little kid would come up and just lean on you," he said. "A child that is wearing something so dirty, so filthy and torn that we would not even put it on the floor for a dog."
In addition to his hands-on work, he sends $160 monthly to a caregiver in Rwanda to provide the necessities of life for four orphaned children.
One of his charges is now 10, "but it is surprising she even survived," he says. Her information card contained the following terse note: "No mother, no father. Found in a ditch at two months old."
"Really good people got this child this far, in a tough environment," said George. "Maybe the money I send will give her a chance. I don't pretend that sponsoring four kids saves the world, but we have a lot, and every little bit helps."
He notes that poverty is relative.
"Homeless is up, joblessness, despair - times are tough here. But poor in Canada does not equate to poor in Rwanda. Even our most down-and-out people have access to health care, food banks, and job training."
George Zimmerman and Pelling Industries, like so many individuals and organizations in town, keep their charitable work close to the vest. Although it is a low key, behind the scenes undertaking, it deserves our gratitude and acknowledgment.