The past several days have been fraught with bad news. The mass shooting in Las Vegas, the destruction of vast parts of Puerto Rico in a hurricane, the death of rock legend Tom Petty, clashes between protestors and law enforcement in Spain. It would be easy to take a dim view of life in 2017. But those sad stories, and outright tragedies, don’t paint the entire picture.

There are men and women in our country, and in our community, doing fantastic work to help their fellow human beings. A story published in the Times-News on Friday detailed the continuing work of Purple Heart Homes, an organization that has built several homes in the East Lincoln area for veterans who otherwise might not be able to get a mortgage for a home. A group of first responders from New York City came to Lincoln County to help build the new home of Robbie James Jr. who, in addition to being a veteran, is a full-time firefighter with the Denver Fire Department.

Home ownership is one of the key parts of what many of us think of when we consider the American Dream. Sadly, that dream is too often unobtainable for a variety of reasons, which is why the work of Purple Heart Homes is so valuable. The organization has already built three homes in East Lincoln, including the one for the James family, and broke ground on a fourth last week. There are plans in the works for more homes in the East Lincoln area.

The news won’t always be happy and upbeat. We should confront evil and turmoil head-on to better understand and prevent it and to help those left behind. But the people who are doing good and important work in our community deserve our recognition, our gratitude and our attention as well.

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