There are angels in Las Vegas.
We could use a lot more.
If you’re a regular reader of The Sunday, you know we’ve launched an occasional feature called “Angels in the Valley,” focusing on people who have done something good for the community. Their contributions can be as heroic as saving a life or as quietly inspiring as giving time and money to a good cause.
Through these profiles, we’ve met some extraordinary people. I’ve benefited personally, making a friend of Janice Allen Haupt. Jan was featured in the May 4 issue for her lifetime of volunteerism and giving to such organizations as the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Opportunity Village, Three Square Food Bank and many others.
I thought of Jan last week when I saw yet another of those depressing lists in which Las Vegas fared poorly. This one was a state-by-state ranking on donations and volunteerism, based on a Gallup poll. The poll said 24 percent of Nevadans had donated money and volunteered time in the past month, tying us with Kentucky at the bottom.
Ugh. Does it get worse than tying with Kentucky in anything but being a great place to watch college basketball or make moonshine?
The good news is that Las Vegas is taking steps in the right direction. On Tuesday, about 1,500 people gathered for the Nevadans for the Common Good’s second convention at Cashman Center. The group is a coalition of 33 faith groups and community organizations dedicated to helping with issues such as sex trafficking, elder care and abuse, immigration and education.
Last year, the group successfully lobbied for and helped pass — unanimously — Assembly Bill 67, which strengthened sex trafficking laws in Nevada. It was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Ellen Wager, the deputy editor for news for the Greenspun Media Group newsroom, attended the event and was inspired by what she saw and heard.
“It would be easy to focus only on the stories I heard about the difficulty of solving persistent social problems in the Las Vegas Valley,” she said.
“But instead I was moved — motivated to help make a difference, right along with the faith leaders, public officials and cheering crowd who were committing to do the same.”
Here’s to the hundreds of people at the convention, including Ellen. We should all follow their lead. It would make a big difference in the lives of a lot of our neighbors. And besides, who wants to be compared to Kentucky?