We are so grateful to be a part of this community that has stepped up in so many ways to help neighbors in need during this crisis. The Addison County Responds campaign led by the United Way is another great example. Thanks to this effort, ACCT was lucky enough to receive an emergency mini grant to purchase some additional laptops for employees who weren't set up to work remotely. A laptop and printer may seem like a small thing, but it's what's keeping us in communication with our residents and getting the word out about resources like United@Work, another program Addison County Responds has supported and that is now available to anyone in Addison County who may be experiencing hardship due to the crisis.
I want to close this post with a little reflection on service and gratitude. I hope it brings a glimmer of sunshine to your day.
Thank You For Your (Robert) Service
When I first started at ACCT in 2015 and took over after (the previous Executive Director) Terry's tragic and sudden passing, I would come in on weekends and clean out boxes upon boxes of old files. It was a pretty bleak time at the organization and I literally didn’t know if we were going to be able to keep the lights on. I had just moved back to VT from DC and was wondering if I’d made a huge mistake. But I decided one concrete thing I could do was to keep showing up and soldiering on. So anyway I went through all of these bankers boxes and manila folders that were rarely labeled according to the actual contents. Old development pro formas, emails and correspondence, even printouts of itineraries from trips Terry had taken. Anyone who knew Terry knew he was a poet. One particularly rough day, in a file marked MHP Legal or 2002 Board Minutes or something similar, I came upon a printout of this little gem:
It’s a different song when everything’s wrong,
When you’re feeling infernally mortal;
When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none,
Buck up, little soldier, and chortle.
This poem fragment was like Terry speaking to me from beyond the grave; it knocked the wind out of me. It’s still pinned to my bulletin board and I think about it a lot. I can even conjure a knot in my chest remembering how I felt when I found it. I didn't realize it at the time, but it turns out Terry had changed one tiny thing in his transcription—the punctuation. The last line ends with a colon, not a period, because it’s a snippet of a longer poem by Robert Service. Here is a link to the full poem: http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/service/carry_on.html
The whole poem is wonderful and particularly poignant for the challenges we are facing now with coronavirus. Today though I’m thinking about the last stanza which is sweet and optimistic:
But to labor with zest, and to give of your best,
For the sweetness and joy of the giving;
To help folks along with a hand and a song;
Why, there’s the real sunshine of living.