Just a year ago, our community was mourning the loss (and still is) of two amazing local giants, Brian Gamroth, and Tom Empey. I added my tributes to many others, in gratitude for their giving influence in untold ways.

This year I speak of someone who was a “quiet giant”. Doris Faulhaber lived in Casper for most of her 96 years. During her beautiful and joyful funeral service, a nephew quoted a tenant of her faith that is perfectly congruent with Doris’s life. “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul; We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” The final speaker closed with another perfectly fitted, familiar Biblical line, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up”. This scripture, most often heard as wedding counsel, was embodied for over nine decades by this good woman whose frail body finally gave out.

Doris and her husband were never blessed with children of their own, yet her titles of Aunt Doris, or Sister Doris in her church, were every bit as endearing as mother and grandmother. She helped her single sister raise six children, with their children dear to her also, as so many were. She was an anchor to extended family and loved everyone she encountered. Sweet memories from family members, friends and neighbors testified of her amazing homemaking talents and giving spirit.

Sitting with others in the chapel, I thought of so many, who also exemplify her spirit of “quiet giants”. I could start with my own parents. In raising their children, they volunteered in every organization in Douglas, I think. Job’s Daughters, Little League, 4-H and Cub Scouts to name a few. Even today they bring vitality to the local historical society (or hysterical as they call it), as well as their church, a local jail ministry, the fairgrounds flower beds, the Boys and Girls Club and Douglas’s hub, the Moose Lodge. Then they go about visiting and serving friends and family in so many ways.

Our amazing neighbors who I’ve spoken of before help all family and friends remodel homes (us included), build a project and refurbish furniture. Dean probably has thousands of hours volunteering with Habitat for Humanity which he continues as he nears 90 years old.

From my dental operatory, I hear about families who care for aging parents, and ill family members in and out of their homes. I was once told that my uncle was making and taking pureed soup to a grateful friend who could only eat liquids. I know his and my aunt’s caring visits have meant so much to their many friends.

I have “quiet giant” friends who have worked tirelessly and undaunted for decades to further the cause for mental health awareness in Casper. I’m so thankful that their dream to open a NAMI clubhouse is finally coming to fruition. What a huge addition to our community’s face for removing the stigma of mental illness with a positive place to welcome those who need to add meaning to life.

We know families who have willingly accepted troubled foster children into their homes to the tune of scores. What an unselfish sacrifice, not only to the children who need homes, but to our community, as all benefit when young people have loving guidance. We experience less crime, less homelessness and more hope for opportunity and grounded families in the future.

I know so many teachers who go above and beyond contracted pay to do their best for every child in their stewardship. My children still talk about teachers who respected them as people and made learning meaningful in a safe setting. Some remain their friends.

I’m sure that everyone reading this is thinking of “quiet giants” in their lives. I still treasure the gifts of love from youth leaders I had in music activities, Job’s Daughters, 4-H, student council and others. I have amazing mentors from all walks of life today.

These are unsung heroes who may lend a listening ear, watch a sick mother’s children or clean her house, give a caregiver respite, do ski patrol, take in meals, shovel a neighbor’s walk, mow a lawn, rake leaves, or pop a kind note in the mail. Our “quiet giants”, like Doris, don’t often realize public accolades, but are the foundation of goodness we can all be grateful for, at this Thanksgiving time of year and always.