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Read about what makes us special in today's section

What makes a place special?

Everybody has his or her own thoughts on that. We did here.

Is a place special because of its tree-lined vistas and shimmering lakes, its wildlife and way of life?

Is it special for what it has to offer insiders and outsiders alike?

Is it special because of its very fabric, the threads or human bonds that hold it together and shape its personality?

Whether geography, personality, aura, good will, uniqueness, charm, quirkiness or just plain good genes from Mother Nature, we thought we'd take a stab at what makes this place special:

Every Sunday we pack our houses of worship and when the collection plates are passed, we dig deep. Our churches help those in need both far and near and we support those missions without hesitation.

We have rural and city folks willing to give their precious time to grass roots politics, running our townships, schools and towns, making sure our forested roads are plowed and ditches mowed, our kids have the best educations, our towns stretch meager dollars to keep our water running and our roads in good shape.

We have thousands of unsung volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to promote small towns, worthy causes, help people when they're sick or down on their luck, stage tournaments and events for our entertainment. We have citizens who attend those happenings to support those towns, people and causes not out of obligation, but out of a sense it's the right thing to do.

We have numerous small, unique downtown businesses that hold their chins up even in challenging times and soldier on, even giving back to the community whenever possible and never complaining they've been dealt a bad hand.

We have dedicated and caring medical professionals that take care of us when we're sick or aging, that strive to use the latest and best technology while giving us compassionate services.

We have civic boosters who inject a vibrant note into our civic spine, rallying us, challenging us and leading the way.

We have environmentalists fiercely dedicated to protecting our lands and our waters, educating us to be better stewards of this beautiful place we've been entrusted with.

We have wildlife groups dedicated to protecting our habitat and making sure our next generation grows up with the same reverence for the creatures around us they did.

We have families that believe in strong values and strong ties to the past and the future, who get together as often as they can just to celebrate togetherness.

We have great schools that challenge our youth so that when they enter the world, they're well prepared to be good citizens.

We have a great appreciation for sports and activities, whether we're participating or just supporting them.

We support our local arts community and artisans, whose contributions enrich our county.

We've probably left many out, but this is what essentially makes us special.

The scenery, the lakes, the trees and the pristine air, the community offerings, are just frosting on the cake.