Happy Monday to the Ladies, Gentlemen and Old Dogs of Concord!

Well, the 2nd Ever “Light Up Concord” Outdoor Decorating Contest is in the books for 2019!

The Awards Ceremony (everyone’s favorite part!) was held in conjunction with the Jackson District Library’s Holiday Open House on Friday, 12/13/2019. It was attended by 55 adults and 42 children and teens, all hosted by the best Branch Manager in the JDL system: Tammy Dotson! Truly, this event would never have happened if it weren’t for her diligent and selfless service. We will miss her when she takes her well-deserved promotion to Branch Manager at Summit later this month.

Our other volunteers are Christi Thorrez-Saenz, who made critical connections for us with our schools and other community organizations and essentially built much of the event’s programming. She proved – once again – worth her weight in gold! And then there was Linda Cavasin, my wife of 47 years, who coordinated our efforts with the area churches, publicized the event amongst them and originated the idea of combining choirs for Christmas Carols at our event. Honestly folks, this planet would be an immeasurably better place if everyone had a spouse like Linda.

Elsewhere in this post you will find the official, final, oft-corrected program for our event which mentions everyone above along with our judges and all of the businesses who helped make this a reality. More on them in a minute, but I need to offer my thanks – and the appreciation of a grateful community to both: Dan Funston, our Concord Schools Superintendent, and Kibby Snow our resident lexicographer and photographer extraordinaire. We are blessed to have 2 of them, the other is Ken Wyatt, who photographed the event last year and was one of our esteemed judges both years!

As for our community businesses: it would not be possible for me to praise them as highly as I think of them. We are well and truly blessed to have these people in our community. Virtually without exception, whenever I go to them for support on any, ANY, community project, the first thing they say is: “I’m in”. They then follow with: “What do you need from me?” How can I help?” and “What else can I do?” People like these don’t grow on trees anywhere but in Concord. And so everyone here knows – Tom Brigham is always, always the first one in. He’s followed consistently by Mike McMasters, then Tony Brooks of the Cadet. These three are the spark that gets this engine running. Every time.

It is always a very good thing to express our gratitude for their support to our local businesses, but businesses don’t run on thanks, they run on cash. Our businesses demonstrate their commitment to our community every time they get the chance. Why don’t we return the favor? We have a total of somewhere north of 1,800 tax payers in the Township. If each of us made it a deliberate point to spend an extra $10.00 with local merchants this Christmas season, we would be adding another $18,000.00 to our local economy and our local business community. Now THAT’S the way to express our gratitude, wouldn’t you think?

And if you’ve read this far, congratulations! You are a member of an elite minority – those residents I write to and for. Thank you. Read on:
One of the most important responsibilities I assumed when I took over this office was to try to find any and every way possible to promote collegiality and a sense of commonality of purpose amongst our residents. I had a vision then of a happier, friendlier and more cohesive community, and I do still. The Light Up Concord Contest was one of the first vehicles I employed to help achieve that goal. The entire event is funded exclusively by private interests, not one penny of taxpayer money is involved. We initiated it with a grant from the Jackson Community Foundation, a non-profit, donor supported organization; and funded it entirely with donations from our local Concord merchants and the registration fee paid by contestants.

The intent is eight-fold:

1. To get people out of their houses, off of their devices and talking to one another in as amiable a setting as possible.
2. To foster a friendly competition.
3. To create an event which will help make Concord Township a more attractive and inviting community, and to offer incentive for residents to participate.
4. To instill a measure of community pride.
5. To provide a venue and an activity that will help generate pleasant, family oriented Christmas memories for our children and grandchildren.
6. To attract people from other communities into the Township.
7. To promote Concord businesses in and outside the community.
8. To help make Concord Township a destination.

And at this point I am obliged to ask: What do YOU think? Is this a good event? Do you participate? If not, why not? If so, why? Is there something else we can do to improve this event? Make it more inviting/attractive to more resident? I need to hear from you on this and I need you to encourage your friends, family and neighbors to sound off, too. It takes literally hundreds of hours and many volunteers to make this happen every year, and if it is to succeed, it needs you. So let me know – you can respond to us on FB, through the comment sections on our website, you can also call, write or visit. Just do it soon, OK?

‘Till next time.

Al

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