CHEERS to Keela Dates of Lake Placid, who, at age 27, has already done so much to help the community and the world. You may have read our recent article about how Dates was one of four winners in a Glamour magazine Best of You contest, co-sponsored by beauty-product maker Sally Hansen. The contest was designed to honor four women "who are making a difference in the world and who inspire others." Dates was chosen, partly through a reader vote, from entries that came from all over the United States. She is executive director of Reason2Smile, a nonprofit organization she created in her early 20s after volunteering in Kenya for 10 days and seeing the tremendous need there. Reason2Smile supports a school and orphanage in Kenya. The contest awards funding to her organization. As part of her prize, Dates and the other winners will go to New York City in April for a makeover and to be photographed for a spread in Glamour. (Anyone who has seen the naturally lovely Dates will know she doesn't need a makeover.) She will get $1,000 spending money for the trip, and, typically, she plans to direct some of that to Reason2Smile. Dates has also been involved with the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York — and what a role model she is for an organization that emphasizes community service. She was honored in 2009 with its Women of Distinction Award and last year was chosen to give an address at the national Girl Scout convention. She is also active in the Adirondack Community Church youth group in Lake Placid. Dates, who is humble, articulate and engaging, is a wonderful spokeswoman for her causes — and an ambassador to make the North Country proud.
CHEERS to the rest of the rescuers who reunited a lost dog with his family. You may remember a few weeks ago when we told you about how Valeri Raugi was away caring for her ill father when her two dogs, Humprey and Dempsey, escaped from her Plattsburgh yard. Friends and family launched a massive search, and two Plattsburgh State students corralled Humprey in the Price Chopper parking lot a couple of days later. But after weeks passed, it looked like Dempsey was gone for good. Then, what seemed like a miracle. Three New York State Department of Transportation workers — Barry Bisonette, Randy LaForest and Danny Royea — spotted a little black dog lying in the median on Interstate 87 between exits 37 and 38. They turned their truck around to see if they could help, concerned that they might be picking up a dead dog. But it was Dempsey, who had been hit by a car and was critically injured. Dr. Craig Russell treated the spunky pup for a broken pelvis, dislocated hip and road rash, and he is now back at home. The DOT guys have called regularly to check on Dempsey. They were just a few of many people who helped out. It was a community of caring that got those dogs back home.