On October 18th I attended the 106th Annual Chamber of Commerce Membership dinner. The event was hosted in the Historic Ashland Armory and was filled with more than 300 local business owners, all of whom had come together that evening to recognize and honor outstanding achievements of fellow business owners.
I sat at a table with business coach, Gary Einhorn, the staff of Advanced Photo Imaging and Dave Anderson of Anderson Autobody. Dave also was joined by his daughter Galina and son Aurel. Galina and Aurel had a little surprise in store for their dad, which was that he would be receiving a special award, thus would be invited up on to the stage to make a surprise speech. When the moment happened, Dave was so shocked that he exclaimed that he was about to forget how to speak English, thus would be speaking in his native tongue, Romanian. The audience burst into laughter and the evening coasted along with many rounds of joyous applause.
As I sat in my chair listening to each speaker my journalistic mind began to ponder the inner mechanics of Ashland. What really creates a great community, and how did this all come to be? Was this all just random luck to have ended up in this beautiful little town? Obviously great people create great communities, and here I was getting to witness, first hand, Ashland’s greatness in action. From Ashland’s outstanding Chamber of Commerce Membership to the stories and deeds of citizenry that have grown Ashland into a legend in its own right. Ashland photographer, Graham Lewis said it best in his recent interview with me, “The volunteer spirit of Ashland is what helps us keep our small town culture. Involved citizens strengthen community”.
All these thoughts and more ran through my mind during the evening’s events. I felt inspired. Suddenly, I had the realization that what was happening here really should be a story that more people hear—in fact it should be reaching the entire community. Then it dawned on me, I can help tell this story by highlighting the highest and best of our community. Locals Guide spotlights and profiles the unsung heroes, and gives recognition and voice to everyone who is working to make Ashland an outstanding place to live and visit.
It’s just starting to settle into my own psyche just what an extraordinary community we live in—and it’s not been by accident. This has not been the result of random cosmic alignments, but rather the intentional and long term dedication of its citizens, great people who have grown a great community.
Ashland, you have inspired me and because of this I would like to introduce to you the New Ashland Community Honor Roll, A place where good deeds and extraordinary citizen receive recognition.
I invite you, the readers, to nominate a friend, neighbor, coach, pastor, mother, father or other unsung hero to be listed on the Ashland Community Honor Roll, (see page 5), and tell us why you believe they merit being honored.
Here’s to our outstanding community, and to all those who creatively and positively shape our future.