To the Editor,
I am brimming over with gratitude since being caught off guard completely with the Citizen of the Year Award this past Thursday night. In reflecting on the award, I keep returning to the thought of how fortunate I am to live in a community that provides so many opportunities to work with others. It’s funny, I came to Red Lodge to escape the town and people and instead to explore the canyons, plateaus and mountains with Outward Bound. Now I spend much more time in town (often pining for more time in the Beartooths), but I am finding the greatest adventure is learning how to bring the lessons I learned in the mountains to town. In the mountains I learned to connect with my travelling companions in a way that allowed us all to be ourselves while moving toward a common goal. I’ve been lucky to work and volunteer in positions where I get to explore just that question: how do we all treat each other so that we recognize the beautiful individuality of each person—each child, each community member--while moving toward the goal of an ever more compassionate community? I’ve heard more kind words in the past few days than I could even handle. My wish is that everyone receives the kind of gratitude and kindness that I’ve been so privileged to receive in the past few days. Thank you Glory Mahan, the Chamber of Commerce, all my sneaky (and wonderful) co-workers and friends, past Citizen of the Year recipients, and everyone who makes living here such a delight.