Last Thursday I strolled through the halls of the Massachusetts State House with my camera and friend State Rep Aaron Vega. His 6 month old son Odin, wife Debra, and staff member Pat were with us as well. Aaron was there on business and I accompanied on this trip to also make photographs of one of his friends, whom was being recognized for the work that she has done. She was among the many other women being recognized as an "Unsung Heroine for the amount of generosity, hard work, selfless dedication, and the volunteer work that they have done within their communities and throughout the state. Some where there being celebrated for their businesses, volunteer work, or the social practices they have used to bettered their communities. The age range spanned from 12-97 years old. In a touching moment, one of the presenters read the story of a 12 year old girl who recognized that a number of her classmates required the school lunch program. Her volunteer efforts inspired classmates to join her in seeking food donations to ensure that her classmates had meals on the weekends. At 12, most youth are concerned with clothes, iPhones, and other 12 year old things. However, she took an initiative to help others, earning herself an award for doing something ensure others had a dire resource.
I stood watching as each name was called, listening to the stories between photographs, realizing that all of these women took a belief and worked hard for it. As an observer, I also noticed that there was a sincere amount of appreciation and joy being spread around the room as the stories were read. Like a smile or a yawn, honest work is contagious. By this I mean, when people do great things it inspires others to do great things as well. As I scanned the room, making candid images, I pondered, "I wonder if any connections will be made today in which community service will foster a broader and larger development within the state of Massachusetts?" Which as we all know, the more people doing awesome things, the better the chances of all of our lives being enriched.
There is a hero in all of us, but few have the courage to live a life in which it is visible.