At Your Service: Dec. 2, 2009

Main Street Margaretville was abuzz with people and activities on Saturday. Whether there to shop, watch or participate in the parade, a multitude of people were there following the dream of one person.
Lauren Quarltere conceived the idea of the Holiday Treasure Express. She would insist that it was a team effort and the first to say that it would not have been possible without the efforts of a lot of other people. Nonetheless, she is the one who had the courage to take that first step from dream to realization and followed through to make it happen – not just once, but twice.
We have many examples of individual contributions to community affairs. On a daily basis, local fire departments and EMT units take care of us in every type of emergency. Each of those people is a hero in their own right. No matter how many people eventually become involved with a great idea, it begins with one person. The value of that singular contribution is magnified when the idea spawns an event or activity that benefits the community.
This coming weekend is the umpteenth occurrence of the Jimmy DiGiacomo Auction to benefit the Community Christmas Project. It reminds us posthumously of the contribution of another person who had an idea and then made it happen. Jimmy’s was a simple idea: to get his friends to pony up in support of a pre-existing local commitment. It has grown to be an event that people look forward to year after year.
The event supports an even more important community activity. The Community Christmas Project is one of those ideas from an individual that gets a “best of” rating. While there are a few people whose names are known, it is the ultimate contribution of the anonymous.
Mrs. Anonymous was active in many aspects of the community, and particularly, her church. With her finger on the pulse of her community, she became aware of families who had trouble making ends meet and needed help to meet various needs. She marshaled her friends and neighbors and they made a project of helping others. The Anonymous family has grown and subsequent generations later, we find hundreds contributing to continue the tradition.
The most common song sung by the initiators of great community activities is that it took many to make it happen. It is the simple truth. Great ideas are brought to fruition when their spark ignites a fire in other hearts. It is at that point that they become a community effort. While the events we have come to count on start with a great idea, they need the on-going commitment of us all to continue.
It may be redundant to say, but us means you and me. There is room for us all in the continuing effort to be a vibrant community. Each new day brings troubles in some form to someone and with it the opportunity for one of us to step forward and provide help. We may use an existing organization as our vehicle or act on our own; what matters most is that we do what we can.
Don’t forget to vote in the Catskill Best Service Awards contest. The ballot is on page 6B in this issue.