It's funny what catches my eye, inspires me to write, and connects the dots in my life. A few days ago I had dropped the Intrepid Junior Bloggers off at school and I drove past this sign:
Just a simple sign, right? And yet it made such an impression on me that I had to go back to snap a photograph of it. It tied together a lot of thoughts I've had recently on Fort McMurray, community, and all of us.
The other night I attended the Community Leader's Reception, an event hosted by the Mayor and Council of the RMWB. Now, to be clear, I was there as a guest of an attendee, and not as a community leader. I don't see myself as one of those, I'm just fortunate enough to know a few of them, and spend time observing them as they go about their work in our community.
When I walked into the reception I saw many familiar faces, but some new ones, too. You see there are always new people taking on leadership roles in our community, whether they are new to the city or just new to specific roles. I saw some of my favourite people, those who run non-profit and not-for-profit agencies in the city (those have become so very, very close to my heart, people). I saw a lot of people. I saw people no different than you and I - just people who have stepped up and taken on roles in the community, paid and unpaid, to make it better for everyone.
So the sign from the United Way touched my heart, and not just because of my fondness for the United Way and all the wonderful groups they support in the city. To me it seemed a message to the community at large, and not just from the United Way, either. It's a thank you from all of us to all who believe in our community enough to donate, volunteer, or make their homes here. It's a thank you to everyone who chooses to believe in Fort McMurray, who chooses to focus on our triumphs at the same time as addressing our issues, and who chooses to care about this community. Because, in the end, people, caring is a choice. You can choose to care, and you can choose to believe. So, from me to all of the community leaders at the reception, to our leadership in city council, to all those who work in non-profit groups, to all of those who do anything, however small, to improve my community - thank you. Thank you for choosing to care. Thank you - for believing in Fort McMurray.