People pursue different goals. Some are intent on making as much money as they can, sure that when they amass enough wealth, everything else will fall into place. Some want fame, and when they attain it, they may wonder why. Many of our goals are selfish, and if we engaged in some healthy introspection, that would become clear. What people wish for on their deathbeds isn’t usually to have gained fame or wealth. They most likely want to know that their lives have had meaning, that there is a legacy that will endure because of their efforts.

Last week, the Alfred Saliba Family Services Center celebrated its 25th year of operation in Dothan. The man whose name it bears is well known in the city as a civic leader, a former mayor, a homebuilder, a friend, a mentor. The center is a part of his legacy, created along with other civic-minded people such as Marian Loftin and the late Rebekah Troutman, who served as director of Head Start.

These folks and others saw the need for an initiative to serve as a safety net for those who need a hand. They created a nonprofit that would provide resources from basic skills to job training and beyond, with the goal of helping people better themselves and their living situations. In a quarter-century, the center has done so in spades — in the last year, more than 8,500 families have been assisted. And the local family services center, the first in the state, has served as a model for similar initiatives in other Alabama communities.

The Saliba family and those who helped bring this vision to fruition 25 years ago — as well as those who have built and grown the operation providing priceless assistance to those who could use a hand — have created a first-rate example of making a difference.

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