Published first on the Progress News, June 21, 2021

This week I’d like to take a moment to show some appreciation for the folks in our area who are working toward a more robust and resilient community for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children, generations into the future.  These are our critical community partners, and redevelopment would go nowhere without their support and hard work. 

We are lucky to have dedicated individuals who volunteer their time and energy wherever they can, always willing to lend a helping hand or share a resource for the common good.  Some of them work tirelessly alongside me on current ORA projects (Sarah, Rachel, Matt, Lisa, Eric – your help over the last few months has been tremendous!!), and I am so thankful for those of you who have worked with the ORA in the past or are working with other local organizations and initiatives.  Without folks like you, there would be no progress in our towns.  Each of you, individually, makes a choice every day to look for ways to help your community, and that determination keeps us all motivated and moving forward.  Thank you!

We are lucky to have strong local organizations and institutions which look for every possible way to match the energy and enthusiasm of staff and volunteers with always-stretched resources to create the most beneficial community impact possible.  Our region is so fortunate to have local service groups such as the VFD and ambulance services, the Red Cross, AmeriCorps, and the Lions Club, and our daily lives are lifted by the connection, joy, and beauty shared by groups such as ARCA, the Foxburg Free Library, and our local spiritual centers.  I am particularly lucky to have the support and partnership of our local Civic Club, the Boys and Girls Club Along the Allegheny, the Progress News, The Coop art studio, and the AC Valley School District with several of our ongoing projects.  Thank you!

We are also lucky to have dedicated local business owners who strive to benefit their community in every way possible.  I see the work that so many of you do, and as we begin our next big redevelopment push, I’d like to send a special shout-out to those folks who have been working right alongside the ORA, helping with strategy and planning and providing the critical economic connection our efforts need:  Matt and Meghan of Linmas Drugs; Wally and Kim of the soon-to-open Emlenton Brewhaus; Dixie, Kris, and Sarah of Amazing Stitches; Steve and Georgine of Foxburg Pizza; Sarah and Zach of the Silver Fox; and Melissa and Vaibhav of Divani Chocolatier.  For your support, your enthusiasm, your initiative, and for all the opportunities the future holds, thank you!

There is, of course, never a shortage of ways we, our organizations, or our businesses can get involved in the community.  Whether it’s with the ORA or another group, there is a project or program out there that you can support.  So I encourage everyone to lend a hand, donate, or even simply show you appreciate the work being done in our region.  And from me, personally – Thank You!!