I Heart Rutland: Find the joy here and spread it
I was born at the Rutland Regional Medical Center. I attended Rutland High School. I began my veterinary career on Stratton Road. My birth, advanced schooling and career all started within one mile of each other. This is a fact of which I am and will always be proud.
I left the region to attend eight years of schooling in big cities, warm climates and even other countries. I chose to return. I could have made more money, seen more things — and done more shopping — elsewhere. But my heart lies in Rutland.
I love driving down the streets when the flowering crabapples are in full bloom. I love walking my dog around my neighborhood — and yes, I live in the northwest section — and saying hello to my neighbors. I love seeing my clients in the grocery store and knowing as much about their families as I do about their pets.
Our downtown restaurants are flourishing, as are our local farms. The farmers market is perfection: community coming together to support each other, converse and eat. I can walk seven minutes to Pine Hill Park and be transported into a world where I can lose myself in nature. I can take a long lunch break and go snowboarding.
The Paramount Theatre offers world-class entertainment while still hosting local events and even free screening of sporting events. This fall, I watched the final World Series game at the Paramount; the room charged with pure joy and community.
Our hospital is top of the line. Though we don’t consider this until we have to, we are fortunate to have advanced medical care in our backyard.
Rutland, like every city, has problems. The difference is that our population is a very mixed one. Instead of other communities where drugs and crimes are relegated to a specific part of town, our poverty lives next to affluence. This is what makes us unique, makes the problem difficult and gives me hope. Heroin is not new to the area. And while the media attention is new, anyone who has seen the spark lost in someone they know or love due to opioids realizes this has been around for much longer.
Drug problems and the crime that follows is not specific to our city, our state or our country. Where there are people, there are drugs. The difference is that we are recognizing the problem and working to address it. This will be an arduous battle, but I believe we can decrease the problems in our city.
Positivity generates positivity, while negativity detracts from the goal.
Every child that can be mentored and supported to make good choices makes a difference.
Every time you walk in a neighborhood or have a community gathering, you are making it known that this is your city.
Every conversation you start with a child about resisting drugs and helping their friends do the same makes a difference.
Every person struggling with drugs that you can help find a different path matters.
The more people who move into homes and make neighborhoods stronger, the less comfortable people will feel making drug deals there. Show drug dealers that we are a community ready to support one another, and in doing that we stop supporting them.
Think of one thing you love about this city, and take action to help that thing grow and thrive. The actions you take don’t have to be far reaching; they can be as simple as supporting a local business.
Instead of speaking negatively about an aspect of the city, think of one thing you can do to improve it. When Tropical Storm Irene hit our Rutland County, we united and fixed things ourselves instead of waiting for outside help.
This is no different. Take a stand for what you love about this city and follow through. Remember that Rutland is ours, and that we must be invested in solutions. I love Rutland, and I am excited for our future. I know that we can all make a difference and make this an even more beautiful, safe and treasured place to call home.