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Our Perspective

A periodic message from Community Foundation Board Chair, Gerry Amodio, and President, Jim Williamson

Spring – A Time to Celebrate!

(March 25, 2010) Spring is my favorite season of the year, but not for the reasons you might think.  Yes, when this time of year arrives, I’m grateful for the end of the snow & ice, the longer days, and the growing warmth which tells me that it’s time to retrieve my shorts and golf clubs from the closet. 
All good things, to be sure.

But, for us at the Foundation, Spring has another, more important meaning – the return of the annual Celebrate Our Communities! Award program. The “Celebrate Season,” as I like to call it, is a particularly invigorating time here.  This is when we reach out to each of our four communities, Berlin, New Britain, Plainville & Southington, to ask the public to help us find and honor those among us whose dedicated and selfless volunteer service deserves to be recognized and honored.  We get a lot of help in the process from our Media Partners, The Citizen Newspapers in Berlin, Plainville and Southington, and from The New Britain Herald.  Their generous advertizing support helps spread the word of our hunt for the “most deserving among us,” and gives this effort the broad visibility we need and our honorees deserve..  And you help, too – by taking the time to write and submit your nominations of the dedicated, selfless, behind-the-scenes friends and neighbors who help create and maintain the fabric which binds our respective communities together.  

Oftentimes, I get to inform the honorees of their selection, and I really look forward to those calls.  The response I get is always pretty much the same – “Why me?” they say, “I don’t do anything special.”  The embarrassment, modesty, and total lack of ego I hear is almost universal among our Celebrate! Honorees.  I never fail to hang up from these conversations totally refreshed and invigorated;   they remind me of why I got into the Helping Business so many years ago, and restores my optimism for the future health of our communities and our country.  I think that’s especially important these days, given all that’s going on around us.

For me, our Celebrate Honorees are that small, bright bit of sunshine peeking through the dark clouds of a dismal economy, rife with job loss and hurting families.  They are the reminder that, amidst the shouting, arguments and recriminations of “tax versus spend,” there are still many among us who rise above all that to selflessly work for the welfare of their neighbors. What makes them so special is their ready willingness to act on that impulse by quietly volunteering, contributing what they can and sharing that compassion with others – all without the slightest evidence of the “what’s-in-it-for-me?” attitude which seems to infect so much of our public discourse and debate these days. 

There’s a quote from Herman Melville which aptly summarizes all this.  Melville said, “We cannot live only for ourselves.  A thousand fibers connect us.” That notion of our society’s connectedness is embodied in all of our nominees & honorees, and I am so pleased at the small but important way that the Celebrate Our Communities! Award program reminds us of this each year.  They are those bright rays of sunshine and warmth we need just now. 

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