Erika Brown recently shared a story with County Fare that embodies the spirit of the season.
She said that over the summer her 3-year-old son, Jasiah, had an encounter with Adams Police Officer Brenna Dorr. "When she tried to approach him just to talk to him, he ran out of fear away from her."
"Ever since, Officer Dorr for months has been stopping by frequently to visit him, and he has now overcome his fear of police because of her efforts," Brown writes. "She has been very dedicated to changing his fear and he now wishes one day to be a police officer. I thought it would be great to see her be recognized for all she has done."
The police officer even stopped by recently to bring Jasiah a couple of early Christmas gifts. "She is truly one of the best officers I have ever met," Brown said of Door.
At home, near and far
Pittsfield native, longtime educator and Vietnam War veteran Mike Gormalley is coming home after his 10th tour volunteering in Vietnam.
His recent four-month visit included being enlisted as Santa's helper, portraying the iconic holiday ambassador himself for the youths of the Children's Hospital of Ho Chi Minh City.
On Thursday, from 9 a.m. to noon, Mike and his brother, Pat Gormalley, will continue to volunteer for the Salvation Army at the Pittsfield Post Office, a tradition the siblings have kept up for some 15 years. They invite friends and community members to stop by and learn more.
Mike currently works as an independent nonprofit consultant and adviser as a volunteer on the Global Community Service Foundation Board assisting with projects that improves the lives of people in Southeast Asia — especially Vietnam, where he served as a U.S. Army platoon sergeant in 1971.
While in Vietnam, Gormalley was profiled in a national television show translated as "Impressive Vietnam." Since 2011, he's worked as a visiting professor for the international relations department of Ho Chi Minh City's University of Social Sciences and Humanities.
The 30-minute segment, arranged by his former students, aired on Nov. 14, just before the National Teachers Day. It also features Gormalley interviewing his students. The show can be seen here: http://ow.ly/WeQcu.
In the segment, the broadcaster, Thanh Van, highlights Gormalley's ambassador work trying to get more Americans to volunteer in Vietnam and says that since starting to volunteer in 2005 in the Quang Tri Province, Gormalley "still shares knowledge with Vietnamese youth and tries to do some meaningful things for Vietnam on a voluntary basis."