I have a good pal who is a good man.
He wouldn't want me to mention his name, so I won't.
He is a modest man, a generous man, a gentleman in the true sense of that often misused word.
Over our quarter century of friendship, he has jumped in time and time again when someone needed help or a problem needed solving.
He does it because it's the right thing to do, and others aren't doing it. Many, perhaps most, of these acts are known only to him and the recipients. His style is to do it quietly and privately. But he's also capable of stepping up and rallying people to get things done, in his community or in some faraway place.
Small things, and big things. Helping someone over a rough spot, organizing a town clean-up day, or heading off to New Orleans or Sri Lanka to pitch in for victims of hurricanes and tsunamis. Always hands-on work, on his own dime.
We live in a cynical age of self-promotion and self-centredness. Many think volunteers are chumps, working for nothing. Many give nothing back to their communities, opting only to take. Many turn a blind eye to social problems, saying it's the government's job to take care of those.
When done at all, good deeds are often performed in the hope that they will be noticed, and perhaps rewarded. My friend wants no reward.
His friends are encouraged to be better people by the example he sets for us.
His outlook on life is simple. "When you wake up in the morning, you can either stay in bed and dream, or get up and pursue your dreams."