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Our 10 Holiday Heroes

December 23, 2005

In yesterday's editions of The Herald-Mail newspapers, reporter Karen Hanna wrote about Claire Seibert, a volunteer for the local homeless shelter.

Seibert is one of a number who volunteer at the facility run by REACH, which stands for Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

Seibert is a part of a 10-part series The Herald-Mail is running on those people who give their time and resources to make things better for the less fortunate in this area.

In Seibert's case, the time she has spent at the shelter over the last four or five years has meant a great deal, even to those who haven't been helped directly.

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Instead of being forced to stay outside, homeless people have been sheltered and some have even turned their lives around.

Thanks to Seibert and other volunteers, Washington County maintains its reputation as a caring community and has been spared news stories about people freezing to death within a stone's throw of warm homes or apartments.

Other stories in the series are no less inspiring. Jayme Detwiler, whose neck and back were broken last February in a car crash, has returned to volunteering with the Red Cross.

And there is Doug Pittsnogle, a 31-year-old South Hagerstown High School teacher who spent the money he had saved for Christmas presents on a good deed instead.

Pittsnogle bought a plane ticket for the Puerto Rican wife and 9-month-old baby of an 18-year-old South High student who had come here seeking a better life.

Instead of spending Christmas apart, the family was reunited.

Rita Holohan spends the year looking for toys and personal-care items for children who receive them during a Christmas party at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Hancock.

All or these people and more have given time they might have spent with their own families helping others instead.

The next time someone say that there is nothing but bad news in the newspaper, please remember these stories that highlight some of the best people in Washington County.

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