One has to love the sheer efficiency of Falls Creek residents.
Faced with the need to cut some trees down for fire mitigation, they decided to turn it into a Christmas tree-cutting party.
So they held the first annual Falls Creek Christmas Tree Harvest. Residents donated $20 to the subdivision’s FireWise fund for the privilege.
Trees appropriate for cutting were measured and tagged by Kent Grant, the district forester with the Colorado State Forest Service, and members of Falls Creek’s Common Property Committee.
About 17 families participated, many complete with kids and dogs – it is Durango, after all – to make their selections and partake of hot chocolate with whipped cream or hot apple cider.
By selecting the trees carefully, the subdivision’s FireWise ambassador, Paulette Church, said, they can keep their little Christmas tree patch going for families for a few years while doing their fire mitigation along the creek.
Falls Creek residents, you may recall, lost several homes in the Valley Fire in 2002, so no one’s more aware than them of the dangers of wildfires.
Celebrating their birthdays while counting down the days to Christmas are Patricia Strumpf, Carol Sheldon, Norm Stern, Tom Caver Jr., Lisa Govreau, Nicki Masseion, Bonna Steinle, Steve Govreau, Kay Lehmann, Mark Rahner, Susan VanDenBerg, Carol Tookey, Patrick Leach, Grant Pierce, Clark Kinser, Amanda Gardner, Don Bruning, Daniel San Miguel, Paula Seay, Nathan Ciluffo, David Lobato, Miranda Polsfut, Greg Cavanagh, Nancy Leach, Dan Goldman and Chris Berger.
Some businesses send their customers a “Seasons Greetings” card. Others have a holiday party. But if you’re Parady Financial Group, you go all out.
Last year, the business’ charitable arm, Parady Cares Foundation, gave the customers at its Florida office a $100 Visa card to pay it forward by sharing it with someone else. That felt so good, it gave a group of 138 fourth-graders cards loaded with $25. It asked everyone who got a card to tell them how they used it.
The result? A lot of good was done, and a lot of great stories came in, particularly from the kids. Parady wanted to share the stories, which led to the creation of a book, What Would Santa Do?
The Santa in the book, also known as Greg Parady, started his holiday giving by paying off $21,000 of Christmas gifts that were on layaway at a Florida store in 2013. It’s become a popular way of giving, with others doing it around the country. We had a Santa at the Walmart in Durango on Black Friday.
The book launched at Parady’s Durango office last week, where clients got a copy plus those pay-it-forward gift cards. If you’re thinking, “I’m not a Parady client, so what does this have to do with me?” – read on.
Maria’s Bookshop is carrying the What Would Santa Do? book for $20, and a limited number will include a “pay it forward” pre-loaded Visa gift card to help spread the joy of giving. Net proceeds from the sale of the books will go to the foundation to support children’s reading programs.
Julie Duvall, Parady Financial’s partner and chief operating officer, said about 100 people came by for the party, which featured just about the most elegant appetizer spread ever, complete with beignets for something sweet. It was prepared by Sari Brown and the crew at The Yellow Carrot.
Parady is working with schools in Bayfield and Durango as well as Fort Lewis College and other community friends to share the What Would Santa Do? story and cards. A few of their employees will be reading the story to their children’s classes and sharing the cards with teachers and principals.
Many of clients and friends purchased additional books to share with their children and grandchildren across the country – I saw several people walking out with a stack of books. Another client planned to take them to her book club.
That’s very much in keeping with the spirit of the book, which teaches the lesson of the snowball effect, where one small action gathers speed and kicks off a lot more small actions which kick off even more small actions – well, you know how that goes.
Speaking of which, if the book you pick up doesn’t have a gift card in it, nothing is stopping you from adding one. Just saying.
Who will experience the generosity of spirit from the cards is yet to be determined, but Parady is planning to collect the Durango stories, too. If what happened in Florida is any example, hungry people will be fed, parents will be able to give their children a Christmas and random acts of kindness will run rampant. And what community isn’t the better for that?
Enjoying anniversaries brightened by poinsettias and candles are Scott and Cindy Lancaster, Rita and Ward Lee, Terry and Dinah Swan, Linda and Frank Tikalsky, Patrice and Terry Lindeman, Sue and Ray Walker, Tom and Ann Duft, Kip and Laura Stransky, Larry and Lauren Rardin, Wayne and Kathy Pratt, Raymond and Sue Walker and Bob and JoEtta Galbraith.
Here’s how to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items. Follow me on Twitter @Ann_Neighbors.
I am happy to consider photos for Neighbors, but they must be high-quality, high-resolution photos (at least 1 MB of memory) and include no more than three to five people. I need to know who’s who, left to right, and who to credit with the photo. Candid photos are better than posed, and photos should be submitted as JPG or TIF attachments.
This column has been changed to reflect the correct name of Colorado Forest Service District Forester Kent Grant.