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By Mary Shank Rockman:

Happy Thanksgiving week! The season of gratitude is officially upon us, and after the numerous atrocities that have inundated our nation the past few months—from hurricanes to gun violence, and the most recent Northern California Wildfires—we at MSR know we have a lot for which to be thankful. Whether we knew someone affected by these tragedies or were personally involved in some way, our hearts go out to all individuals with healing wishes and renewed hope.

As I sat down to write this post, I couldn’t help but marvel, as I often do, about how news organizations report in the wake of calamity; the snapshots of extreme danger they present, and the messages that arise from their coverage. One of the many things I find enjoyable about being a PR professional is having the behind the scenes knowledge of how news cycles develop and their ability to both create an impact on people and incite communal responses. Recent events were no different. Most initial coverage focused on the breaking news of each incident while reporters put themselves in harm’s way to capture the essence of the unfolding scenes. Then came the updates with even more harrowing news as additional details became available. And finally, when the rainy wind stopped blowing, and the bullets and ashes had settled, the inspirational human-interest pieces arose and would touch each of us as they became the impetus for moving forward and helping heal from the great pain that was experienced by so many.

Several such human-interest stories resonated with me and I found myself reflecting on an old quote that I’ve always loved by Og Mandino. “I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” In the case of recent events, the initial “stars” who presented themselves in the early darkness were the first responders whose unwavering commitment and selfless support literally saved lives, homes, and reunited families with loved ones and their animals. Additionally, in the areas afflicted, community members came together in ways most hadn’t seen before. Injured people were cared for by strangers; almost immediately, people from near and far mobilized volunteer groups to aid in shelter assistance and clean up; and in-kind donations of food, clothing, and supplies began arriving in such great volumes that many centers had to turn away generous donors. Schools, clubs, companies, organizations and celebrities all across the nation banded together to show support and fundraise for relief efforts. At MSR, we are also collecting clothing and supplies for Northbay Wildfire Fire victims as well as making a donation in honor of our clients in lieu of holiday gifts.

Given the work that we create at MSR, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the role that social media has played in connecting people throughout these challenging times. Facebook groups were formed, hashtags, photos, and videos went viral. Whether through #PuertoRicoRelief, #LasVegasStrong, or #SonomaStrong social media has been instrumental in helping provide details of people’s whereabouts, the fate of their homes, location of pets, and ways for people to help those in need. What resulted was an outpouring of community support and true acts of kindness.

Out of all the chaos have come altruism and compassion that brought people together to help others when they’ve needed it most. Typically, people wouldn’t assume that from the aftermath of such crises would arise a model for human kindness and gratitude. However, in each recent situation, communities have come together to support one another like never before. I believe this is the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Amidst the sadness and loss, kindness and gratitude truly remind us of all that is good in this world.

From all of us at MSR, we’re grateful for your support, collaboration and partnership. We wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and holiday season.


Also click here to check out 9 Timely Causes to Give Back to This Holiday Season!