May 2021

Willoughby Times Article:

Most of us have our own perspectives about our city’s identity. Some consider our great lakefront, or the beautiful Chagrin River, or perhaps our historic downtown, among others. Beyond these, there are many small things that serve as constant examples of Willoughby, our residents, and what our community represents. A recurring theme that I see in our city is our ability to “pay it forward”. This is showcased by the random acts of kindness that many of us frequently offer and experience.

One of these unexpected acts occurred recently when a father and his two young sons walked by our Euclid Avenue Fire Station while our firefighters were testing fire apparatuses. Specifically, this was our 100-foot aerial truck which is a massive and complicated piece of machinery. The boys, of course, were captivated by the fire truck. Recognizing this, the firefighters swung the truck’s boom to where the boys were, gently dropped the bucket to the ground and allowed the brothers to explore the equipment. These few minutes of unexpected kindness overwhelmed the father, and he wrote a letter to our chief thanking him and his firefighters for an experience his sons will not forget.

Many of our small businesses offer their store as a venue for aspiring artists to present their talents. Whether visual artists or musicians, the store owners provide entertainment for their customers and a venue for the artists, and product purchases are not required to be a performer or a spectator. The Wholesome Hippie, for example, shared that their goal was to allow others to have an opportunity to express themselves, as they do in their creative food offerings.

Pick It Up Willoughby, a downtown initiative organized by The Bar Athletics and executed by volunteers, was an event that included many citizens with a singular goal to provide a “spring cleaning” for our historic downtown. A business dedicated to individual fitness and health supported the well-being of a community. The event was so successful that other groups are considering a similar effort in our Lakefront District.

Finally, a Stevens Boulevard resident, who frequents our city council meetings, recently sent me a brief note simply thanking me for my service and offered “continued blessings”—reading this note after a long day left me energized. A small gesture that made a significant impact.

Paying it forward and random acts of kindness are not new concepts, but they are more important now more than ever in a year of many challenges. Thanks to our residents for valuing our sense of community.