Giving Back to Your Community
Kevin Sipe, Library Board of Trustees Chair
Growing up in Presque Isle, one could be forgiven for thinking every hometown is like our own. We sometimes take for granted the opportunities we enjoy and the community we share. We enjoy good schools, effective local government responsive to its citizens, fresh air, clean water, a myriad of public services, and activities for all. But move away, live somewhere else for a while, a year, two years, ten years, and one begins to appreciate Presque Isle in a whole new way. The quality of our lives here often is thrown into stark contrast when held up for comparison. Sometimes it takes a returning resident to help us see just what a special place our little town, Presque Isle, is.
There is obviously something about growing up in Presque Isle that etches powerful memories into us. Perhaps it's the sense of community, the safety of our streets, the library, the recreation department, the parks or just the feeling of well being and belonging. Seen through another's eyes their memories become a mirror for us to view ourselves. What one does with those memories, however, makes all the difference. Does one rest in the comfort of those past days or look to give back, to insure that those opportunities remain for others to enjoy?
For one former resident the answer lies in giving back, to provide for future generations all the opportunities they enjoyed growing up here. With a one million dollar donation this former resident has fulfilled a dream to be able to give back in the form of an addition to the Presque Isle library that will provide much needed space and for the first time handicapped accessibility. Her stated goal is to give back to the community that meant so much to her growing up, to give without a desire for recognition but rather a desire to do for others. This gift will benefit the citizens of Presque Isle for generations to come and keep alive the sense of community and specialness we enjoy but sometimes fail to see in the day-to-day of our busy lives.
The concept of "Pay it Forward" lives conceptually in all of us. But how many of us can or do put that concept into action? When someone does act on that most noble of ideas it strikes a chord in us and makes us wonder if we, too, could do more for our community. The generosity of one woman will create a place of refuge, meeting, and education for all to enjoy and will stand as an example to the spirit of giving and service, an example of the concept of "Paying it Forward" becoming reality. With this gift our children, all of us, will be able to benefit form one more of the things that makes Presque Isle such a wonderful place to live and raise children. In the months to come we will see this woman's gift become a reality as the walls rise on the new addition to the library made possible by one person's desire to "Give Back" to the community she loves.