If tested, I’d like to think I would have the courage to stand up and do the right thing. I want to be someone others can rely on.

I wish we could fill our paper with only good news.

That’s impossible, I know.

My fellow muckrakers would probably stop letting me join their muckraking games.

But sometimes, you know, a good story isn’t a bad thing.

Take for instance, United Way’s annual Day of Caring. One day a year, our fellow men and women take a day off from their jobs to help people who have no homes, no food, no jobs, no hope. People who need help learning to read. People who need help in legal cases. People who are abused and clinging by a thread.

Helping others makes the Day of Caring volunteers feel like their lives have purpose.

I covered both people with high-powered jobs and young troubled women. Despite their stations in life, they all felt jazzed about contributing to their community.

Just watching and talking to them filled me with excitement, too.

They could have stayed at work instead of packing boxes for needy families so they can stuff themselves like the rest of us this Thanksgiving.

They didn’t have to scrub cooties left behind by 4-year-olds on toys they slobber on.

But they did it and they did it gladly.

I feel guilty about failing to do more to help, more to change lives.

Harriet Tubman conducted missions and helped people escape slavery through her Underground Railroad. Oskar Schindler saved more than 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. Mahatma Gandhi used nonviolent resistance to lead a successful campaign that freed India from British Rule and sparked other movements for independence.

I’m sure plenty of people throughout history who we’ve never heard of have impacted our society in positive ways.

Of course, I'm not looking to end up in Wikipedia. For now, all I know how to do is be a positive role model and upstanding citizen.

If tested, I’d like to think I would have the courage to stand up and do the right thing. I want to be someone others can rely on.

I know one thing, I can start volunteering more.

Thank you for your service, Day of Caring participants. Our communities certainly became better because of your willingness to act.

Duwayne Escobedo covers Santa Rosa County for the Daily News. You can contact him at 850-315-4489 in Fort Walton Beach, on his cell phone at 850-255-1484 or email him at descobedo@nwfdailynews.com.