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Column: Individuals are threads in community fabric

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Published South Jeff Journal, June 2015

By Heather Berry

When you pull at a single string of yarn, an entire sweater can come undone.

I think the same is true of a community. Each person adds to the weave and strengthens the fabric of a community. In this way, each person holds value and has a responsibility to bring their best strengths to the table.

Dr. Trowbridge’s retirement got me thinking about the weave in this community. There are so many people who contribute in their way. When one strand alters its course or steps away from the weave, the entire fabric is in jeopardy.

Dr. Trowbridge has been a part of this weave for a lifetime. He invested himself entirely into the area and brought what he had to offer. He studied at Cornell, went off to fight as a Marine in World War II, came home, raised a family and settled in an interesting life practicing veterinary medicine for six decades. Six decades.

As I sat listening to his story, it dawned on me that I was talking to the James Herriot of South Jeff. Here is this man who practiced medicine in a similar rural area on almost the same timeline as Herriot. He mucked through barns and dealt with his own variety of Tricky Woo’s, much like Herriot.

He may not think his retirement will impact others, but it will. Down to the smallest person in the fabric.

Last week, I walked into a room full of kindergarteners in a local school district. The cacophony of noise was deafening. The group was having a party and everyone was talking at once. Above the steady chattering, one voice rang out loudly, “YOU SMELL LIKE DIRT!”

Apparently, one very spirited youngster was expressing his opinion of a classmate at that particular moment in time.

What saddens me, for this very opinionated little person, is how the guard is changing in his community and he may miss out on the fabric that came before him. He may never know of Dr. Trowbridge and his story. Look around you at the folks like Barb Nohle, Andrew Beckstead, the Belloff family, Sue Herse and many, many others who make up this unique fabric of your community.

Make sure the next generation hears the stories of who they were and what they did how they changed the weave around them. Make their contribution mean something and carry on by honoring how they altered the tapestry.