Anyone who thought that air traffic controllers, or members of the Secret Service or the FBI might walk off their jobs because they aren’t being paid doesn’t know this country very well.

If you need a reminder of who we are, look at the people who are remaining on their posts in service to the rest of us, despite not knowing when they’ll receive a paycheck.

It must be terrifying — especially if you have kids to feed and clothe — to be caught in the middle of a fight you neither started or wanted, where the only person being hurt is you.

Yet, even with all this, there are men and women who are refusing to leave their jobs because they took an oath to the Constitution — and to us.

They are 420,000 strong, but who can reasonably expect them to remain so? If a resolution is not found, some will lose their homes, their cars, their dreams for the future.

Stepping up

Recently, members of the Ohio Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth started conducting trash cleanups inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

They’re part of an army of Americans across the country stepping up to do all they can to maintain the integrity of one of our greatest resources.

This is the America that too often is obscured by politics, finger-pointing, demagoguery and willful ignorance.

This is the America we must aspire to be every day, not just when there’s an impasse.

The heroes among us are never the blowhards, the braggarts and the noisemakers.

They’re the people who do what’s right without being begged or shamed into it.

Driven by something larger than themselves, they know the inherent value to be found in working for a greater good.

It’s not possible to think of Cuyahoga Valley National Park and not think of the late Rep. Ralph Regula, a founding father of the park who convinced the Ford administration to make a $200 million investment to purchase 33,000 acres in 1974

Brighter path

He was not the kind of congressman you saw on TV every day, angling to be a future lobbyist or a talk-show host or president. Yet, he delivered for his district, time and again, by putting country before party.

Years ago, when Regula visited this newspaper (The Canton Repository), he despaired, even then, at the direction Washington was heading. He lost out on becoming chairman of the House Appropriations Committee not because he wasn’t capable, but because his competitor was a better fundraiser.

Regula’s late wife, Mary, founded the National First Ladies’ Library in downtown Canton, Ohio, which also is closed because of the federal shutdown.

What they must be thinking right now.

There’s no doubt many people go to Washington with a pure intent to serve, but too often, something goes awry; their good intentions smothered by demands for blind party loyalty, special interests and the endless need for money.

But Northeast Ohio and Stark County are a better place to live because Ralph Regula decided to take the brighter path of honor and service over self-aggrandizement.

Amid the current chaos and incompetency, we are learning America is still home to people who love their country, who are dedicated to their jobs and who are being hurt through no fault of their own.

If Regula’s legacy includes a crown jewel, it is Cuyahoga Valley National Park. He would be pleased and grateful for the ordinary people who have taken it upon themselves to protect it. 

Reach Charita M. Goshay at 330-580-8313 or