By Eileen Majors

It’s always a challenge to decide what to write my column about, always hoping for the opportunity to be completely inspired by something, sometime before deadline. Usually passion wins over and something comes through. This time however the issue tugging at my heart is somewhat hard to bear and not necessarily something that belongs in Mountain Valley Living.

Our designer Teresa recently bought Michelle Knight’s book, Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed, bringing to light to the scope of the problem of human trafficking. I knew there must be something I could do to help. I stumbled through the recent stories of rescued girls that, for some reason, we don’t necessarily hear about on the national news.

I lowered my head in sickness unable to continue reading the accounts about the captivity these girls had suffered through. I was however, inspired by the seemingly small, community-minded efforts offered by regular people, not-afraid-to-get-involved people whose efforts immediately turned heroic. I read of a truck driver who made a call to the police exclaiming about a truck stop prostitution ring. “These girls are awfully young out here,” and suggested they come take a look. Wise lawmen responded and two young cousins who were stolen on their walk for an ice cream, were rescued. Another case told of a smart young girl who had managed to yell to a neighbor that she was being held against her will and the neighbor was able to help her escape.

Still, I argued with myself over writing about the ugly problem which is growing by leaps and bounds in our country and very possibly, in our own backyards. More than I could deal with thinking about, I planned a back-up article about my 40-year class reunion I attended over the weekend. Still uncertain if I should write about it; I couldn’t even think about it, I could only pray: “Help those girls in captivity, please help them!” I had a couple of days to figure out what I wanted to say in the column.

I arrived home from a trip to the Bay Area later that day to enjoy a cup of coffee in front of the nightly news. Several girls were rescued from human traffickers, the news announced today (June 23, 2014). A nationwide crackdown included arrests in Sacramento, not far from our own neck of the woods in Northern California.

Okay, okay, the column goes in. I get how important this is. I love it when confirmation like this arrives.

We have all been conditioned to mind our own business, but if we can change that mindset, we might also be able to change some really big things for some very unfortunate people.

If we all could learn to keep our eyes wide open and our instincts sharp, maybe we can help change the world. The next hero in our neighborhood could be any of us.