Friday, January 1, 2016

Public Service

Here's a little thank-you note for all those acts of public service that mean a lot to me. Perhaps they won't seem like public service to you. But it takes many, many things, both big and small, to hold a community together.

  • To all the folks who put up Christmas/holiday lights so the rest of us can enjoy them. You make a dark season brighter.
  • To all the people who pick up that extra piece of trash, grab the empty recycling bin that's fallen in the street--you make your whole neighborhood a better place to live.
  • To friendly and helpful check-out clerks at the Food Lion. You may not know it, but you make not just the store, but the entire Village Center a more welcoming place for both residents and visitors.
  • To the teachers and staff who come to work every day in our communities. Your work is an investment in the thing we care about most: our children.
  • To the businesses who purchase those annoying pop-up ads on the Baltimore Sun website: thanks for supporting local journalism. We'd be lost without it. (That's my mantra every time one pops up...)
  • To the reporters who cover that news, with a special shout-out to the team in Baltimore which has done an amazing job during one of the most challenging years in Baltimore's history.
  • To bloggers and Facebook pages/groups in Howard County who bring stories and issues to us that we might otherwise miss. Most especially to "Mold in Howard County--Information for Parents".
  • To all the crazy Twitter inanimate accounts that spread local flavor, most notably @Mr.TrashWheel , @manwomanstatue , @McKldnFntn , and the dear, departed @aberdeenblimp . That list wouldn't be complete without Columbia's own @eye_on_kq, who looks at local life from the persona of the People Tree.
  • To all the people who continue to send Christmas and holiday cards. Those of us who can't get it together absolutely love getting your cards. Maybe you could teach us how to get our act together for next year. (Please?) Also, an extra word of gratitude to those who write sweet, funny, humble holiday letters rather than the braggy kind with a competitive edge. It can be a fine line, I know. Thanks for filling us in without simultaneously smacking us down.
  • To the two members of the Howard County Board of Education who have made it their mission to be open, forthright, and respectful to members of the community: Cindy Vaillancourt and Bess Altwerger. It must be lonely being the sole voices of dissent right now. Thanks for fighting the good fight.
  • To Village Managers and staff in Columbia who keep on "keepin' on" despite low participation and a steady flow of complaints and challenging issues of aging facilities. I see you making Columbia better place. Thanks for not giving up on us.
  • To neighborhoods and good neighbors. To friends who welcome new friends into the mix. To churches who reach outside their comfort zone to help others and stand for justice. In short, to community-builders: we need you.
Happy New Year to all. I'm beginning this year in thanks. Just like the famous Fred Rogers quote, I want to consciously "look for the helpers". It's good to remember they are all around us.


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