By Charlene Lovett
While yesterday’s Thanksgiving is now a memory, I still find myself reflecting upon the wonderful things that have happened throughout the year. Personally, 2019 was a difficult year. Yet, in the midst of hardship, there was much to celebrate. Upon reflection, that would not have been possible without community.
The strength of Claremont is its sense of community. I have never lived in a place in which people rally around a cause or a person in need so willingly. It is this energy that shapes the identity of a city or changes the life of an individual. Throughout the year, I have seen this in action many times, and the results are powerful. Below are some examples that come to mind:
Acknowledging the need for state funding, people traveled to Concord throughout the legislative session to advocate for our community. As a result, Claremont received over $6.2 million to fund long-deferred capital improvement projects, lower the tax rate, and create educational opportunities that will produce revenue and improve learning. This, in turn, will build upon the momentum of revitalization.
Volunteers on boards, commissions, committees or national service organizations give generously of their time and resources to make a difference. Their focus may be on economic development, cultural arts, well-being, the environment or city governance. Whatever the case may be, these volunteers have spearheaded projects such as the revitalization of long-vacant buildings in the city center, window decoration, the Opera House, Arrowhead, the Amtrak Station Host Program, lighting of Broad Street Park, First Night, scholarships and numerous city park restoration and beautification initiatives.
When nonprofits need to fundraise to support the critical services they provide to the community, people in Claremont rise to the occasion. Hundreds of people showed up in April to walk or run in Turning Points Network’s annual fundraiser. Others faithfully attend TLC’s annual fundraiser dinner. At other times, people opted to gift or donate something in support.
Businesses establish foundations or provide generous donations. Claremont Savings Bank, Mascoma and Red River all have foundations that distribute grants for numerous initiatives within the community. Because of McGee Toyota’s donation, we had a great fireworks display on July 4. Most recently, Hannaford had a Stuff the Truck event to support local food pantries.
When adversity hits a family, Claremont people unite in solidarity. This year, the community gathered in support of Nymen and his family as they waited for a kidney transplant. When Nymen returned home with a new kidney, the community turned out in celebration.
What we have accomplished in 2019 because of community action is something of which we can be proud. Though the year may have held very different experiences for us as individuals, it is our sense of community that keeps us connected and moving forward. Thank you to all of the volunteers, organizations, businesses and people who have given so generously of their time and resources to make Claremont’s sense of community a source of thanksgiving.
Charlene Lovett is the mayor of Claremont and a 22-year Army veteran. She welcomes your feedback. Please email questions, comments or concerns to her at email@example.com.