Compassion Rules

Compassion Rules

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Do you read the news? I thought so, yet sometimes it’s hard to digest what we are reading. We must ponder a series of tragedies, obnoxious behaviors, wars raging, tornadoes ravaging and all manner of troubles. We struggle to make sense of all of it, carry on with our lives, stay focused on our daily activities. But the stories of bad things happening in the world bombard us daily.

It’s remarkable that we can “push aside” disastrous news and keep moving forward. We will read with horror about a ship striking a bridge but book our next cruise. An airplane mishap won’t stop us from flying, and a deadly accident will not prevent us from driving. Our inner strength to simply keep going, despite the possible dangers that lurk out there in our universe, is what makes us so incredibly resilient. Collectively, we bravely face each day with gusto. We are strong!

Tragedy does not define us, our compassion does. Humanity on display in full force is really the unstoppable storm. The tornado touches down and wreaks havoc. But we can dig through the rubble, comfort families, help the injured, and rebuild. Courageous efforts, selfless motives, and peoples’ prayers carry us through. We lift each other up.

Ten years ago, an eight-year-old boy, Myles Eckert, was walking into a restaurant in Ohio with his family when he discovered a twenty-dollar bill on the ground. Picking it up, it must have felt like he had won the lottery. He was told he could keep the money and buy a toy later. Myles noticed a soldier in uniform sitting at another table, eating his lunch. The young boy became thoughtful and wrote these words on a post-it note. “Dear Soldier, I found this $20 and I want to pay it forward. My daddy was a soldier, and he is in heaven now. Here is this money and thank you for your service. Today is your lucky day.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Dailey, who received this note, signed by Myles Eckert, was dumbfounded. He later discovered that the boy’s father, Sgt. Gary (Andy) Eckert died in Iraq in 2005 just weeks after the boy’s birth. “This note is the constant reminder to me of one young soldier’s ultimate sacrifice, a family’s burden and a boy’s unselfish loving act.” Paying that $20 forward, Lt. Col. Dailey and Myles Eckert launched a program to benefit the children of fallen soldiers. Millions of dollars have been donated to gold-star families, to keep “paying it forward.”

Headlines scream out tragedies, while hope quietly whispers that we are here to help. The forest fire may cut a swath of destruction, wars go on, but our giving spirit prevails. We strive in our finer moments, to honor the fallen, to become the loving son who shows compassion, and to keep the faith. It is simple acts of kindness that keep us grounded. Buying coffee for the person behind us in line, helping an elderly person load their groceries into their car, and giving generously like Myles Eckert makes the world a better place.

Dear Readers, may your week be filled with many “pay it forward” moments.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected]. Or visit

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