I am a problem solver. Actually, that is a lot of what I do in my real world private sector job as an operations coordinator.
What is an operations coordinator, you ask? Basically it is just a fancy title for my ability to turn common sense and available resources into both short and long term solutions to problems within the departments of the company I work for.
Problem solvers are often miss-understood. We tend to cut right to the chase. We don’t mince words and most of us don’t like to waste time pandering to the fragile egos of those who prefer the role of judgmental spectator instead of solid contributor.
People tend to label problem solvers as aggressive, abrupt or even rude at times because we keep our focus on moving the ball towards the solution instead of worrying about our own popularity or the acknowledgment or appreciation of our efforts. Those looking to control the system to their own advantages do in fact view unknown problem solvers as a threat to their personal fiefdom and push back accordingly.
Because of my own desire to be a part of the solution, I tend to gravitate toward others within our community who are also problem solvers.
A wonderful example of community problem solvers working together happened this past week. A terrible fire occurred on Christmas Eve at the Madrona Estates Apartments. The residents of this complex are low income and few are in any financial position to absorb such a devastating hit.
The community resources and organizations that are in place to render the needed assistance for these types of situations struggle in the best of conditions. These were the worst of conditions. Vouchers for hotel rooms for those families and individuals who could not return to their units were distributed. But serving all of the impacted residents had only just begun.
Instead of sitting around waiting to be told how or when individual community citizens could render assistance, the problem solvers went to work. The immediate needs of blankets, toiletries, flashlights and prepared food that could be distributed to fire victims still operating without power came first.
Next on the list was solving the problem of food replacement. No power meant food sitting in refrigerators and freezers would need to be replaced. Word spread fast on community Facebook pages and soon donations of pre-paid grocery cards began pouring in.
Having the pre-paid cards would allow residents to replace the food they lost when the power was restored or they moved their household to a new location.
This past Friday, I stopped on my way into work and picked up three of the cards to be donated, one from each member of my family.
I would like to personally thank everyone involved. In addition to the Port Orchard Goodwill, grateful assistance was received from the Bremerton St. Vincent DePaul, Rejuv Spa in Manette and Rockit Roost in downtown Bremerton.
Robert and Jodi Parker and Jane Rebelowski are my fellow community problem solvers who stepped up, involved themselves with or coordinated nearly all of the donations or services provided and ensured that it all made its way to the fire victims in the most need.
They listened to what those needs were and they followed up with the solutions. Way to go, guys!