Spreading holiday cheer is free yet priceless

By Chris Faulknor, Publisher

I’m quick to jump on people when they do something wrong. If you don’t believe me, ask my kids.

But, there’s another side to me too. I also believe in celebrating the victories and saying “Great Job” when people do things right or well, and there have been enough of those over the past few months that I felt the need to say something.

First of all, happy retirement to Police Chief Jeff Gaither.


He’s been fantastic to work with.

Chief Gaither was caring, diplomatic, and had a good sense of humor.

I wish him a happy retirement.

Kevin Spate, the new police chief, was actually the first police officer to have the pleasure of pulling me over for speeding back in 2004.

That may seem like a mark against him, but he was actually very kind and understanding about it.

He got me back in my vehicle—I jumped out and started walking back to his car to apologize and explain myself—and he did so without drawing his gun.

As I searched our archives for photos of Officer Spate to run with the announcement, they told the story.

One was Officer Spate having a water fight on his police bike with kids during the Fourth of July Parade.

Another was Spate high-fiving a kid in school.

We hesitated, at first, to use it.

After all, it didn’t scream “macho police officer.”

But, what better way to look at an officer sworn to serve and protect?

He gives our kids a reason not to fear and loathe the police, and I admire that.

My next shout out goes to the Boyne City Rocks group.

At first, it was a few people that liked to paint rocks and hide them for people to find.

It was a unique idea and finding the rocks was fun.

What I didn’t realize, however, was the rate at which it would grow and what they would do with that growth.

Now, they paint rocks (and I don’t mean the hand-painted pet rocks we made in school, I mean art quality images) and auction them off in order to raise money for various charities.

What a fantastic way to turn a small hobby into something bigger while adding a unique piece of flair to Boyne City!

My next round of kudos goes to the number of charities in operation this time of year.

You can pick one, because there are many: Toys for Tots, Boyne Eta Nu, Boyne City Eagles, Boyne Area Community Christmas, and the Salvation Army are just a few, but there are so many more.

These groups make sure our kids have a great Christmas each year.

Sometimes that means keeping a family’s heat and lights on and they do so without hesitation.

Other times it means buying toys because a family can afford their bills but absolutely nothing else.

The Community Christmas baskets helped my family once or twice when I was growing up.

Thank-you for making sure there’s always a holiday season out there for our kids.

Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone else out there, and it has to do with a holiday greeting.

Nobody knows whether to say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” anymore.

Happy Holidays encompasses all of the holidays in the winter season, but it doesn’t acknowledge the Christian holiday of Christmas around which much of the season is patterned.

Merry Christmas, on the other hand, recognizes the Christian holiday but does not acknowledge the dozen-or-so other holidays going on throughout the season.

“Get to the point, Chris. Who are you thanking and why,” right?

Now that I’ve summarized, I’m going to make it far simpler.

Thank-you for not making a stink about it either way, because regardless of which holiday greeting you choose, I’ll simply be glad you took the time to say something nice to me.

The holidays are a fun time for many and a rough time for others.

I just spilled out some praise for people and groups because that’s what we need this time of year.

I hope you’ll do the same.

I hope you’ll take this season and use it to spread a little joy to the rest of the world.

Watch out for people who are down and pick them up.

Find those who are struggling and help them get through.

Track down the depressed, sad, and confused and remind them that there’s a great community out there.

Boyne City is known for being welcoming, encouraging, kind, and giving. Each year, we keep that reputation alive.

Let’s not let this year be any different.


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