It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for our law enforcement employees as we watched horrific events unfold in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas. Chief Morrison had to advise our police officers to be on guard for possible threats. Thankfully, our Colchester Police Department makes it a priority to engage positively with people of all races and religions and has enjoyed tremendous support from the community. Many of you commented about the positive energy around the prayer services in Fort Ethan Allen. Our Police Department assisted with traffic detail for a crowd of more than 800 Muslims who gathered to celebrate Eid and the end of fasting over the month of Ramadan.
During what appears to be a national epidemic of extreme views and polarized communities it seems especially important for us to participate in all forms of civic engagement to foster empathy for one another. Our Fourth of July parade recently provided one such opportunity to gather together as a community. The business owners and citizens who took time to decorate floats and vehicles contributed to the celebration. Parade Grand Marshals Clinton and Carol Reichard were recognized for many years of volunteer service to various organizations in Colchester. We watched our volunteer firefighters and emergency responders go by in shiny trucks and dress uniforms; these are great examples of citizen engagement through community service to their neighbors.
Imagine what our community would be like if no one volunteered; no one coached kids, put together floats, served on boards, volunteered as firefighters or in rescue. One of the most precious commodities anyone has is time. There is always a need for your donation of time, no matter how limited. It can be as simple as contributing new ideas for the parade and helping to build a float; contributing a few hours at the Triathlon in July; or making a longer term commitment to the Recreation Advisory Board or Planning Commission.
Consider the benefits of giving some of your time to your community. You’ll meet new people, be more active and engaged, and learn new skills. All of us benefit by interacting with others, building community spirit, and gaining a better understanding of one another. By embracing our diversity, respecting everyone’s right to hold opposing views, and taking part in the community, we can help reverse the trend of negativity. Check our website at < a href="http://colchestervt.gov/417/Board-Committee-Openings" target="_blank">colchestervt.gov/417/Board-Committee-Openings for volunteer opportunities.