Editorial: Why we do what we do

By on October 23, 2009

Being a journalist in these times, it can become easy to get lost in all the negativity. Businesses are struggling financially, local government entities are struggling financially, and in the background there is an overriding fear and/or worry about the future—the future of journalism as an industry, future of individual media outlets, future of our media outlet, and so on.

It becomes easy to fall into a rut—to fall into a mode similar to what a marathon runner must feel somewhere in the middle of the course—where you just put your head down and try to gut your way through the miles or through the editions.

And then something happens that makes you realize that you get to write about people like Linda Kelley, Tanner Robertson and his family, and the students at Kaneland High School.

Last week, Tanner’s dad, Mike, visited the Elburn Herald office and told us a story about how his family reacted after reading an editorial about KHS staffer Linda Kelley’s efforts to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research at the high school (read reporter Susan O’Neill’s story on page 1A). The story did not come easily; Mike was visibly emotional at times during his telling of how his 12-year-old son, Tanner, searching for a way to not feel helpless while watching his mother and grandmother both suffer from breast cancer, read about the KHS pink sock project. He read about how all KHS athletes and groups intended to wear pink socks during upcoming events; and as a member of a local youth football team, he decided on a way to not feel so helpless.

Without an organized, group effort surrounding him, 12-year-old Tanner Robertson walked on the field the following Saturday clad in pink socks.

The PA announcer stated what he was doing and why, and the following game, Tanner’s entire team strode onto the field in the pink socks.

And thus, Linda Kelley’s initial effort, which inspired a group of Kaneland High School students, passed beyond the walls of KHS and into the hearts of people who have no direct connection to the school.

To play even a tiny role in helping form a connection between Kelley’s efforts and Tanner’s response is humbling, to put it mildly. To witness how one person’s effort to do something positive snowballs through the community like this, that is why we do what we do; and that is an inspiration to us.

It is people like Linda Kelley and the more-than-400 community members who received the pink socks from her that remind us why we do what we do. It is the numerous times when community members come together and inspire each other, and therefore inspire us, that helps us take a step back and realize what it is that is important, and what it is that makes our Kaneland communities unique.

In other words, you—your stories, your challenges, struggles and successes—are why we do what we do.

Thank you for helping remind us of that.