There is so much good in this amazing city of ours, there really is. Now before I get accused of “blowing sunshine up your ass” journalism let me assure you I am not now, nor will ever be, a journalist. I write a personal opinion blog and I write it because I love to write. I write it because I love to hear from people who tell me I have touched them, who tell me that I put into words the thoughts and feelings that they themselves couldn’t seem to string together. I write to make people think, feel, laugh or cry. Most important though, I want to provide a little bit of hope, something to hang onto when things are tough, and something positive to work towards.
I know it’s been a tough year for Bangor. We all know. We’ve had some trouble with drugs, we’ve had some crime, we’ve had questions and concerns over the shocking investigation of a local pastor, and we’ve had budget issues and disagreements during the election season. You don’t need me to remind you of all that. The front page of the Bangor Daily keeps us updated. If they should miss something and I know about it, I’ll be happy myself to expose our flaws so we can all examine them and decide how to fix them. But overall, that is not my thing!
Here is the thing; I think some folks spend a little too much time focusing on the negative while missing the many, many wonderful things that are going on in this city.
I have to tell you how amazed I am by some of the people in this city I have connected with in the last year since starting this blog. Bangor is full of passionate, talented, motivated people working for positive change, every single day! These are the things and the people we need to focus on. These are the things that will bring businesses and families to our community. These are the things that make this city not just where we all happen to live right now, but our home in every sense of the word!
Remember back to the Downtown Bangor of years ago? Remember the empty buildings, the failed businesses? Remember when Bangor was known for a famous hate crime against a gay young man? You know what I did today in Bangor, Maine? I had the privilege of being at the weddings of three same sex couples who were married legally, right here in City Hall, surrounded by the love and support of a community who vowed to do better than they had done before! Bangor has changed and the changes are awesome!
Change didn’t happen overnight. Change takes time. Change takes hard work and commitment. Change takes people who can see hope when other people see none! So my look back on this year is going to focus on all those people who make Bangor one of the greatest places I’ve ever lived!
Thank you so much to the people and organizations that have chosen to never give up on this city but especially thank you ~
- To all of the colorful, wonderful, interesting people who live and work in this community and make it exciting and eventful every day!
- To the entire Bangor City Council, but especially council member Ben Sprague for going above and beyond the call of duty on every occasion simply because he loves the city he grew up in.
- To all of the downtown businesses, and business owners, who dared to survive, and thrive, and not only provide wonderful things to all of us, but also donate so much of their own time and resources to local charities and events!
- To all of the people of Bangor who attended citizen’s meetings, council meetings and committee meetings, on their own time, just because they care and want to make a difference.
- To the performers who bring us theater and dance and let us lose ourselves for a little while in the magic they create.
- To the Bangor PD, especially the foot patrol, who listened to the downtown businesses when they asked for help, and responded by getting out of their cars and walking among us, getting to know us, and truly becoming part of the community downtown.
- To all of the people who spent countless hours on the Marriage Equality campaign simply because they believe in love!
- To my fellow BDN bloggers who write both truth AND HOPE, especially Jim LaPierre and Amy Fried.
- To other BDN writers who provide us with endless laughs and entertainment, Pat Lemieux, Erin Donovan, Heather Bogolyubova, and Emily Burnham.
- To every musician that has shared their music with us all year long from the American Folk Festival, to Kahbang, to the Waterfront Concerts, to my dear friends Larry and Leslie Latour, to the guy who sat in front of the Charles Inn and played all alone on a Sunday afternoon. You brought us so much joy!
- To the photographers, who have documented the wonderful things in Bangor, and often for free, and then openly and willingly shared their work with the rest of us; Jeff Kirlin, Jodi Renshaw, David Cox, Jennifer Murphy and Andrea Hand.
- To the people of this community who pull up their shirt sleeves and volunteer for every organization and every event they can squeeze in! Two people that come to mind are Christopher Rudolph and Meg Shorette! Try to find an event those two aren’t at, really!
- To the people who work quietly behind the scenes, helping those who need an extra hand, especially Dennis Marble of the Bangor Homeless Shelter and Bess Gove who is a CHCS Crisis Worker!
- To the artists who so willingly share pieces of their very souls with this community especially; Mark Nutt, Orson Horchler, Randy Colbath, Jeff Prymowicz, to name only a few!
- To all the anonymous people who do the little things that no one knows about that in the end, make all the difference in the world; the folks who smile at strangers, hold doors open, invite someone alone to join them at dinner, drop a donation off at a shelter, shovel a neighbor’s driveway, pick up trash they find on the side walk, every single little bit helps!
- To the children of this community, who give us endless reasons to hope and plenty of motivation to never, ever give up. To my children, and all of the others who grew up in Bangor and are here now as adults, working, living and contributing, for proving that we were right to hope and believe in all of you and this amazing, wonderful, growing, changing, incredible city!
Thank you Bangor, Maine! And Happy New Year!