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Stories of caring show us the way

In the last week or so, numerous stories of local people helping others speaks to the connection between our communities.

It started with a three-alarm fire at New England Forest Products in Greenfield on the night of May 1, which brought out dozens of firefighters from surrounding towns. Thanks to their efforts, the company’s facility sustained minimal damage and was able to continue operations uninterrupted.

Doubtless many of the same firefighters responded to the Old Jaffrey Road barn fire early in the morning four days later on a Sunday. Although the barn was lost to flames, a nearby historic home and other structures were saved by the firefighting operations.

Other stories inspired us, too. We were touched by the regular volunteer work of Monadnock Worksource clients, many of whom have overcome challenges in the area of disabilities in order to reach out to others in their communities who are in need. Paige Lawrence, 22, of Peterborough participates in a regular Meals on Wheels delivery route, getting hot meals to seniors. And fellow Worksource clients James Murray, 23, also of Peterborough, and Kyle Guillemette, 21 of New Ipswich stock the shelves of the Monadnock Area Food Pantry as a part of ongoing volunteer commitments. The service of these young adults speaks volumes, not only about the work of Monadnock Worksource — which helps people with disabilities connect with their communities — but also about them.

Commitment also runs deep, we learned, for Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center employee Donna McKernan of Peterborough. Rather than see her student Krista Lucas — who recently lost funding to remain at the facility devoted to people with disabilities — go into the world alone, McKernan has left her job in order to help Lucas, who has cerebral palsy, establish a life in Massachusetts.

Another who impressed us was Brian Kohlmorgen, 10, of Rindge who overcame serious health issues as a baby, and is now eager to help others. The first weekend in May he worked with other Project Linus volunteers at the First Congregational Church in Rindge to make blankets for children who are ill, in need and/or facing other serious challenges.

There isn’t room to recount them all, but here are a few other stories of caring we came across recently: Local postal workers participated in the national Stamp Out Hunger food drive this past weekend; Que Viva Fitness held a Zumba event not too long ago, which raised $1,222 for Shelter From the Storm in Jaffrey, and Two Rivers Community Choir held a benefit concert for the same organization; and on June 2 two local residents have plans to hold a tea, with music, at Peterborough’s Bass Hall to benefit Peterborough area food pantries (look for more details in an upcoming issue).

It’s easy to see these stories as individual moments of achievement and dedication. But it’s when they are viewed as a whole that we begin to understand the connections between our communities and our reliance upon one another.

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