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Kevin Baisch, Areavoices blogger, Published May 11 2012

Areavoices | Sensationalistic stories about Oil Patch give distorted view: Blogger sees community that cares

Story after story about the oil patch in ND seems to focus on the buzz. On the frantic activity in this end of the state. The money. The greed. The trash. The rough and tumble setting filled with bars, strip clubs,fights, and crime. Those stories, while containing an element of truth, are sensationalism and opportunistic journalism at it’s worst. They paint only a partial and certainly a distorted view of this community.

If one simply “cleans their glasses” they will see so much more. They will see what I see. A community that cares. Look closer. You will see seniors getting rides to shop and to the clinic. You will see free community meals each Sunday at a local church, no sermon, no strings. You’ll see parks full of children, softball games in progress and inevitably, a line at the local Dairy Queen You will see groups from school age children to oil company employees to concerned citizens out picking up trash from roadsides. If you’re here tomorrow, you will see bands marching, flags waving, classic cars driving, and kids laughing as they chase candy thrown from the floats at Band Day.

I have seen the kindness of stranger for stranger countless times. Something as simple as allowing someone to go ahead of them in line at the store or restaurant, or allowing them to merge in traffic. Sometimes it is a kind or encouraging word. Many many times a conversation has begun between myself and a newcomer to town while in line at the store. They see my girls with me and a connection is made. I see the glimmer in their eye as they look at the girls. The stories quickly follow. They speak of their loved ones. Sometimes grown and out of the nest, but most often, back home in Wisconsin, Idaho, Washington, Montana or Colorado. The glimmer fades a bit as I see them struggle with the sadness of separation. Most speak of the weeks where they are able to return home to see their loved ones. Some speak of bringing them back…some day. My heart breaks for them.

I shepherd my girls out to the pickup. I hug them a little bit tighter then is necessary as I lift them up to their car seats, and say a prayer…of thanks for what I have…and for those whom Iv’e met, that they too may reunite with those they love.