A Letter to the Editor by Mayor Tim Smith

January 3, 2019

Dear Editor,

I wanted to take a moment to showcase what great communities and county we are all so fortunate to live in. This past month of December was unlike any other month of 2018.  There were holiday celebrations in Swanton, St. Albans, Richford and Enosburg. There were beautiful tree lighting events in multiple towns throughout our County.  In addition to holiday celebrations there was the donation of tens of thousands of dollars of food, toys and clothes for the needy.

In St. Albans there were four major family events that were dependent on hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours for all of them to be successful. The first event was the Festival of Trees that raised $15,000, the money was shared with Martha’s Kitchen and the local food shelf at CVOEO. During the week of the Festival of Trees 500 plus individuals took part in the Running of the Bells through the St. Albans Downtown.  The Running of the Bells event benefitted Operation Happiness.

On December 7th the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery put together the best Tractor Parade yet with 50 entries.  This event has become a tradition for many families no matter what the temperature is.  And just this past week we saw the first Annual Last Night which proved to be a huge success.  Families were treated to fireworks in Taylor Park at the end of November and then again on December 31st.  None of these events could happen without the financial support of many of our local businesses as well as the time and commitment of hundreds of volunteers.  So here is a big thank you to the volunteers for all of your hard work and a reminder to everyone to buy local.  

But as special as all of those events were I think there were two other events that probably did not get nearly enough recognition and those events were Operation Happiness and the Coat Drive of the BFA High School Rotary Interact Club. Operation Happiness organizes food drives in almost every school in Franklin County and receives thousands of dollars of toy donations in order for hundreds of families to have a happy holiday season.  There were food and toy distribution sites in Swanton and St. Albans.   I think Operation Happiness must be the most intense volunteer event in our county when you consider all of the time dedicated to the event not only on the day of but for the months before.  As for the Coat Drive who would ever had thought that the community would donate 500 winter coats to the cause in its first year.  Not only did the students receive the coats but they found a home for all of the jackets as well.  

I am grateful for the community/county for which we live. I look at the lessons my children learned by taking part in Operation Happiness and hopefully those memories of helping those in need will stick with them as they get older.  I also hope they have fond lifelong memories of those cold December nights in a beautiful Taylor Park lit with thousands of Christmas lights as they participate in events that have made our community and county special.

St. Albans Mayor

Tim Smith

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