While working on the mural at Edward E. Haley Park, a question arose concerning the Bennett ice wagon’s wooden wheels. After unsuccessfully trying to find the answer from local sources, I was typing a request for help to a manufacturer/restorer of wagon wheels in South Dakota, which I found online, when news broke of Monday’s explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. My dad ran this marathon some years ago, and I recall him telling about how remarkably supportive everyone was to each other, though all strangers. That event, though, is not unique in this regard, where complete strangers are helping others.

I watched in horror, then in anger, as the footage from the scene in Boston was released, then repeated. But then I noticed something: I saw folks running away from the scene, which is perfectly natural and blameless reaction to such a thing. But I also saw a few running toward it, and it was upon seeing them that a quote came to mind from a long time ago.

“Look for the helpers.”

At first, I couldn’t remember from who or where I knew it, but the answer soon came to me. I knew it from a piece of paper on the wall of the ambulance barn where my mom was an emergency medical technician when I was growing up. It was Fred Rogers of “Mister Rogers” fame who said it. The whole quote is, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

I saw them — the helpers — in the footage from Boston, but we also have them all around us here in Franklin County and, in fact, everywhere. They are not only the true angels and heroes who we see in our ambulances, fire trucks, law enforcement vehicles and hospitals and such. They are us, too.

They — we — are the ones reaching out to a soul suffering from debilitating depression, from a struggle with grave illness, from pain and agony of all kinds. It doesn’t take dramatic, newsworthy events to be a “helper,” nor does it take bad things either.

The phone call I received from a friendly soul in South Dakota shortly after sending my wagon wheel question made all the difference in the world to me. It reminded me of just what it is to be a helper.

— Scott Braden, Ottawa