Brian Mittge Commentary: The Brighter Side: Good Day, and Good News


Last night, when I got a little too negative after a discussion about some unfortunate trends in national politics, my wife asked me, “Is there anything good going on?”

It was a great question, and it got me thinking.

I’m awash in blessings but I have to admit that sometimes I let a few dark clouds that I think I see in an otherwise blue sky get me down. 

I’m naturally a pretty positive guy. My mom once told me that she gave me rose-colored glasses, and to make sure I keep them on. 

I don’t take that to mean that everything is good, but it means that we need to not let the bad overshadow the rest. It’s important to stay involved in the political arena, but people come first. When we remember that, we’ll be OK.

So I’m going to try to start taking notes of positive people, events, ideas and news that happen each day, writing them down before I forget about them. That list will, I hope, jump-start evening discussions with the family and hopefully reorient my attitude a bit when I’m tempted to get caught up in worries about a few strayed strands in the great tapestry of America and humanity. 

Want to join me? I’d love to hear your positive news in your neighborhood or that you’ve seen about our great nation. What nuggets of goodness will go on your list today? 

I’ll start with this story, which begins in heartbreak but is so heart-warming at the end.

The News Tribune reports that two business partners have spent more than 15 years quietly preparing a $10,000 scholarship for a young woman they had never met. The two men, Steve Beck and Bill Kombol, had come upon a truck crash back in 2006 up along the Green River. They searched the wreckage in a panic and found the driver under debris, moaning and bleeding hard from his leg. Despite their desperate attempts to save him, the man died at the scene.

After learning that he had a wife and a 2-year-old daughter, they decided they would keep an eye on the family from afar and, somehow, try to help that girl who was growing up without her daddy. 

“When something affects you like that, you somehow want to make it right,” Kombol said. 

They began saving money from their business ventures for her and kept in touch with the girl’s grandparents. This summer they arranged for the girl, now a graduating senior, to attend her school’s scholarship night. The men were there with a short speech and a big check. 

“Tonight we present a scholarship to a girl we’ve never met from an accident she doesn’t remember,” Kombol began before giving her the $10,000 scholarship. She’s attending Arizona State University to study sports medicine. 

“It was keeping a pledge that we made 15 years ago,” Kombol later said. 

It’s an important reminder that most folks around us are good and decent. Of course we need to be aware of the few bad apples, but to focus on the negative isn’t just harmful, it’s simply inaccurate.

The Olympian reports that Penny, a 3-month-old pygmy goat, was stolen from the Grays Harbor Fair in Elma. That’s a discouraging story, but the bad guys were outnumbered by the good. The goat was spotted in Walmart (who brings a goat into Walmart, anyway?) and many people called in tips that helped identify the kid-nappers. Penny is back with her owners. Score one for the goat guys. 

And we have our own good guys closer to home. 

When the 4-H horse department at the Southwest Washington Fair this week found itself in a bid after its water truck died, word spread and Tyler Rentals quickly stepped in to donate the equipment needed. 

Tyler Rentals “saved the day,” County Commissioner Sean Swope said in this writeup by The Chronicle

I believe that nearly everyone has a good heart. Maybe our next big job in society is to help find ways to connect those good people and their helpful instincts with their neighbors in need, giving them a chance to be little heroes in a big world. 

That’s a good day for anyone.

Dad joke of the week:

The reviews for the Southwest Washington Fair this week are so good, they’re changing the name to the Southwest Washington Great. 

Brian Mittge would love to hear your good news. Send it to