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2009 DIDO Awards

Sunday, February 22, the Motion Picture Academy will hold (or has held) their 81st Annual Academy Awards Ceremony honoring the big stars of Hollywood for their outstanding performances during the past year. Those awards will have no genuine relevance for a single person who reads this column unless you happen to be a Slumdog Millionaire. That's why this column gives the DIDO Awards every year (this is the fourth) honoring people we've never heard of for outstanding effort or service in our communities day in and day out ("DIDO").

There is discussion lately about eliminating residential postal service one day a week because the Postal Service is presently losing money. Whether that is a good idea or not, the 2009 Award for Service goes to our postal workers. They brave their way through ice, snow and vicious dogs day in and day out to deliver letters for $0.42 that FedEx would charge $15 to deliver. One of our mail carriers has been bitten twice. But she doesn't blame the dogs, she blames the owners.

There needs to be a Persistence Award this year. This award goes to millions of workers who have been laid off and are scrambling to get by on unemployment compensation while pounding the sidewalks day in and day out looking for another job or part-time job -- any job at any pay just to get a regular paycheck.

This is a tough time in our country. The stars may walk the red carpet for the Academy Awards, but for friends and neighbors of ours, carpets and homes are being lost to foreclosure. This year we have a special Survivor Award for those under the foreclosure gun for their day in and day out efforts to survive and keep a roof over the heads of their families.

This year we have a Multi Task Award that goes to working mothers. These ladies cook meals, do laundry, make beds, feed their children, tuck them in, go to teacher conferences and work 9 to 5 jobs where they're expected to be focused and cheerful day in and day out. Single mothers have no help at all and married mothers usually get less than they deserve.

Then there is the Guard The Pump Multi Task Award for clerks at all night gas station -- convenience stores. I bought a cup of coffee from one at 7:05 a.m., a few weeks ago. Her shift started at 11 p.m., and it was over at 7 a.m., only her replacement had called in sick so she had to keep plugging away until help arrived. Meanwhile, they have to card young people buying cigarettes, brew the coffee, pop the popcorn, stock the shelves, stand in the draft when the door opens, make sure no gas "drive-offs" happen, which would be recorded as black marks on their personnel records.

And we solute the Middle Of The Night Bakers, who get up at about midnight to go down to the bakery to start the ovens and bake all night so we can have fresh bread, rolls, doughnuts, cakes and pastries in the morning. Does it get hot back there by the ovens? You bet -- day in and day out.

Our final award this year is the Plow All Night Award. There have been record snows many places this winter. But when those of us with daylight jobs get up, the evidence is clear that the guys and gals who run the snowplows have been out there clearing the streets, roads and highways for us while it was dark and cold. This winter it was one day after another, day in and day out.

We don't necessarily know the names of these folks. Most of them wouldn't care to be singled out anyway. But they have earned our respect and gratitude for the day in and day out service they provide us or for just hanging in there when the going gets tough. They all have grit. Thanks folks -- keep up the good work.