The holiday season is a memory, and that means that the 2008 Combined Federal Campaign has drawn to a close. Now that the hard work is over, organizers and workers connected with the CFC can draw a collective breath of relief.

The 2008 CFC was perhaps the most challenging in recent memory. Just imagine the difficulty of conducting a major fund raising campaign in the midst of perhaps the worst financial crisis since the 1920s. A steady stream of stories about job losses, home foreclosures and a Wall Street meltdown appear on an almost daily basis in the news media, eroding the confidence of the American people.

Not surprisingly, against this economic backdrop charitable donations are in a free fall. At the same time, demand for the services that charitable organizations provide is skyrocketing.

In the face of all the bad news about the economy, Melissa Lynch, 2008 CFC Chairperson, and her crew of volunteers took a positive approach. They rolled up their sleeves and went to work, as they tirelessly and diligently organized the 2008 campaign and promoted the many ways in which CFC donations benefit thousands of charities. Their actions exemplified an old Chinese proverb that says "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

Lynch, the Executive Secretary for the U.S. Army Garrison - Detroit Arsenal, admitted to being both excited and apprehensive as the 2008 CFC campaign kicked off. "I was very concerned about how the state of the economy might affect donations to the CFC. While we are fortunate to have stable employment here at the Detroit Arsenal, many associates are providing financial assistance to family members who have lost their jobs. Given the current conditions, trying to reach the 2008 CFC goal of $367,897 was going to be a huge challenge," Lynch said.

While there were plenty of dark clouds circling around the 2008 CFC campaign, there was also a good reason to be optimistic. Lynch acknowledged that "the one thing that gave hope to everyone working on the campaign was the generosity of the associates working at the Detroit Arsenal. No matter how tough the times are, people here have proven time after time how compassionate and giving they are."

Once again, the Detroit Arsenal community didn't disappoint as they overcame long odds to make the CFC a shining beacon of light to those among us who are most in need. Despite a long suffering Michigan economy, total donations for the 2008 CFC were $373,386, surpassing the target of $367,897.

Congratulations to Melissa Lynch and her CFC staff for going above and beyond the call of duty to help make the campaign a huge success.

The biggest thanks go to all of the Detroit Arsenal Associates who donated to the 2008 CFC. Their compassion and generosity are truly remarkable. At a time when the need is so great, they stepped up and made a difference in the lives of countless numbers of people by doing good.

In the final analysis, there is no nobler pursuit in this life than to help lighten the load of our fellow travelers through this world.