Dave Richards' Weekly Column in The Woonsocket Call

Dave Richards for April 15th……

--The subject of my report this week is based upon my observations since we last met of what is good about Woonsocket. This is fair warning to those who look in every week for a rant or complaint. You won’t find one this week. However, if you are one who delights in pointing out the imperfections in everything, get ready for an enthusiastic rebuttal.

This week’s topic goes back to my comments over the last few weeks about why I love this time of the year so much. Life has a way of shoving negative things at you. I mean, if you are at all aware of your surroundings you see sometimes awful things going on and everywhere there is misery to one level or another. But I think it is appropriate now and again to dwell instead on the positive as a way to sort of balance things out.

Last Thursday I was listening to our radio station and I heard Woonsocket Police Chief Tom Carey speak from the heart telling the radio audience how deeply impressed both he and his wife have been with the extraordinary level of sincere ‘giving’ and community service they observe in Woonsocket. The chief’s career has taken him to a number of communities over the years, but he said he’s never seen the equal of Woonsocket’s obvious caring for each other. As a resident of the city who has fought to stay here when opportunities have beaconed from afar, I enthusiastically agree and appreciate those words.

The occasion which prompted the chief’s comments was the announcement by well-known businessman Al Beauparlant that another local man, John R. Dionne, has been elected for induction into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in recognition of his years of public service work in our community. I can personally attest to John’s extraordinary commitment over the years either assisting or spearheading projects too numerous to mention here, but including raising monies to establish veterans monuments, helping families beset by catastrophe, and keeping The Milk Fund vibrant and growing to assist countless families over the years. It is true that John Dionne is a man who many find it easy to disagree with sometimes, but all are in agreement that when it comes to his passionate work on behalf of community betterment causes, John is unparalleled. Woonsocket would be a very different place today if John had not channeled so much of his passion into helping others over the years. Congratulations, John!

--I spent a large portion of last week’s space allotment pointing out how wonderful I thought the annual Fishing Derby is, and this year’s edition did not disappoint in the least. It makes a person feel great to walk around and overhear families spending time with each other out in the fresh air and making good memories. Good memories are very important. After all, memories are what we all become, eventually. Pictures are often a part of good memories and we have over 150 of them posted to the radio station’s website, www.woonsocketradio.com, so families can download them free and also so you can see what I saw Saturday morning. And, of course, this year we had the added bonus of warm and sunny weather! Good. We already have enough memories of cold and wet weather.

And that brings me to the shining jewel of my subject today, the 56th Annual Egg Hunt staged by Woonsocket Parks and Recreation Director Liz Kerrigan and a team of volunteers from the school department, the Woonsocket Villa Novan Varsity Baseball Team, the Lady Villanovan Softball Team, WHS Honor Students, and others. Barry Field is a large and expansive place, and when you add several hundred excited youngsters and their families, it takes a good team to keep order to say the least. And that is just what happened. So well-organized was this event that, in the span of less than 60 minutes, hundreds of pounds of candy, dozens of children’s toys, a kick-scooter, big-wheel style tricycle, and two children’s bicycles were taken home by appreciative Woonsocket residents. But aside from how fast and smoothly it all went, the equally remarkable thing was the sincere gratitude of those who attended. I lost count of the number of people who came to me expressing heartfelt gratitude to those who helped put on the Egg Hunt. This impressed me greatly that in this somewhat jaded day and age, so many people went out of their way to take time to say, “Thank You”. That’s nice.

So now let me transfer much of that gratitude to some of the many others who were so instrumental in making the Egg Hunt happen:

-Plastics Group & 84 Fairmount

-Woonsocket Firefighters Association Local 732

-AFSCME Local 3851

-Woonsocket Police Local 404

-Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild Local 951, AFT

-Woonsocket School Department Local 1137, AFL

-Woonsocket Lodge of Elks #850

-Bocce Club Restaurant

-Frontier Welding and Fabricating

-Nolin Electric, Inc.

-Pepin Lumber Company

-Wal-Mart Superstore in North Smithfield

-Cercle Laurier, Inc.

-Milford Federal Savings and Loan

-Simon Chevrolet

-Glycol Blending Services

-Blackstone River Federal Credit Union

-Vose True Value Hardware

-Material Sand and Stone

-Mark Gelinas of Woonsocket

-Lil and Gene’s Family Restaurant of Manville

-JAGS Entertainment DJ Services

Please be sure next time you visit any of these great people and institutions that you thank them for making the annual Egg Hunt in Woonsocket possible. I’m sure they do it more for the good feeling they get in helping out more than the ‘thank-yous’. But a simple ‘thank-you’ expressed by you can be a tonic to one’s soul on a busy day. And it is the right thing to do.

--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to dave@onworldwide.com or mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.


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