• City Room: This is ‘Where We Belong’
    January 26,2013

    Part of having an appreciation for history is knowing where people come from. In part that’s why I enjoy being a journalist. It is a privilege to hear the stories of my friends and neighbors across central Vermont. In my capacity, I get to hear about heroes and tragedies, successes and failures, ordinary and extraordinary, you name it. Together, we all weave the fabric of our community.

    Having grown up here, I know many of the people and places that make up the heritage and culture of this area. I cherish our rich history here, with roots that go back to the founding fathers and to the first immigrants who moved to this country. We are an amazing melting pot of ideas and traditions. From that proud past, Barre and neighboring communities have had strong ties to social clubs and service organizations — many of them with ties either to religion, culture or service.

    Membership in these organizations has become itself a great source of community pride. These affiliations are badges of honor, and have been for generations.

    Today we kick off a new series — “Where We Belong” — which highlights the history and success of the service organizations and social clubs that have come to define central Vermonters.

    Writer and researcher Kathryn Eddy, whose architecture series “Building Blocks” got people looking at Barre through a more schooled eye, will not only explore how these organizations serve the community but will introduce us to some of the people who have become central to our community-building and pride.

    While many communities across the nation are seeing membership in these organizations dropping off as our national priorities have changed along with technology and jobs, Barre (and much of central Vermont) still is seeing a very active club and service organization network.

    As you will see, all of these groups are a poignant and revealing reflection of our community.

    And every single one of the stories behind why central Vermonters join, engage and get involved is personal and extraordinary.

    I hope “Where We Belong” shows exactly how much we really do belong.

    In advance, many thanks to the organizations that are opening their doors and membership to this series. And further thanks to those groups that have agreed that through joint ventures and partnerships we can all benefit and learn from one another — the same way we have for generations.

    In this appreciation of history, we continue to make it.

    Steven Pappas is editor of The Times Argus.

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