Accent on New Paltz: Giving thanks by Paul Brown

paul-brown-SQTHANKS to the hard working, dedicated men and women who serve as our first responders. The 21 full-time and nine part-time members of our police force whose responsibility it is to keep safe the more than 14,000 who live and work in our community. The 15 members of the New Paltz Rescue Squad and its volunteers who provide us with professional, pre-hospital emergency care. The 40+ firefighters who volunteer at the risk of their own safety to protect our homes and lives.

 

THANKS to the teachers of the New Paltz Central School District whose responsibility it is to impart knowledge and serve as role models for the youngsters who attend our schools 180 days each year. Thanks to our school district staff who maintain our multi-million dollar physical plant, who provide meals and transportation and look out for the safety of our children. Thanks to all those in our district involved in arranging for Thanksgiving baskets for needy families; to those who organize the senior Thanksgiving luncheon, the winter coat drive, the back-pack program, the school supply drive, the middle school blood drive, the camp scholarships program, and those who arrange for donations of food for the children attending the summer school program. We extend our gratitude also to the members of our Board of Education who serve without pay to set policy and oversee the administration of the largest taxing authority in our town.

 

THANKS to the 36 full-time employees of the town and 25 employees of the village who serve the public every day. Due to your efforts citizens are able to obtain the records, information and documents they need; our public buildings and spaces are kept in good repair; our roads are maintained and remain accessible in bad weather, and we have a welcoming, efficient recycling center.

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THANKS to all the unpaid volunteers who serve on the numerous town and village governmental boards, commissions and committees, without whom the elected officials who come and go would not be able to function. There is a reason many of you are appointed for terms that exceed the terms of office established for elected officials. You provide the institutional knowledge, the long-term experience and objective wisdom that transcends the often necessarily shorter term focus of those who must face the vagaries of elections.

 

THANKS to the five staff members of the New Paltz Youth Program (NPYP), and the numerous volunteers who assist them. The NPYP has offered year-round educational, recreational and social opportunities for middle school and high school students since 1989. An important part of the organization’s efforts is its tutoring program at the middle school. The 52 college student volunteers who signed up this semester, each of whom works at least ten hours a week, provide tutoring at the middle school in 25 classes each day. Last year 24,446 students received tutoring, 9,940 young people signed in at the youth center and 513 were registered in the program.

 

THANKS to the members of our service organizations, to our local businesses, to the volunteers and staff of our local food pantries, churches and non-profit organizations whose mission it is to help others, particularly those in need or in crisis. Because of you, New Paltz is a community in which people will not go hungry, ill-clothed or without shelter in an emergency. There are simply too many people working on a regular basis to raise funds and make arrangements for a fair distribution of the food, clothing, furniture, household items and money donated by the thousands of residents and businesses who generously give what they can. To all the donors and contributors, we also say thank you.

 

THANKS to those who read, send letters to, advertise in and produce this weekly newspaper. Your collective efforts help provide our community with local information unmatched by and unavailable from any other source. Our quality of life is enhanced by each issue.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!