When I walked out the door at the Des Moines Register for the final time on Dec. 12, 2014, there was an unfinished piece of work tucked away in a box of assorted stuff I carried. The folder contained a few dozen newspaper clippings, press releases and notes to myself I had collected. There was a common thread in all of this: They dealt with events across Iowa to raise money or provide other assistance for people in times of need. I had hoped for several years to travel to a few of these events and then weave all of this raw material into a column for the front of the Sunday Register opinion section that I edited. But retirement caught up with me.