The heart of Chatham

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If you want to know the heart of Chatham, it was on full display during a number of events during the past week.

Anyone attending the 60th anniversary of the Chatham Goodfellows, the 75th annual Chatham Rotary Banquet or the Field of Valour event at the Chatham Armoury displayed some of the finest qualities we aspire to.

Since 1954, the Chatham Goodfellows have striven to ensure that there is “No Child Without A Christmas” by distributing baskets of food and toys to those in our community and surrounding area.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

People in most communities don’t have any idea about Goodfellows. It’s a true area phenomenon, started by “old newsboys” who delivered the papers door to door and on street corners in Detroit, Windsor and Chatham.

More than 1,500 volunteers also help pack and deliver baskets with assembly-line precision.

The 60th annual dinner was more like a big family reunion with 200 people swapping stories, sharing photos and reaffirming their support generation after generation.

It’s true volunteerism at its finest as not one cent is used for administration.

Meanwhile, the Rotary banquet attracted more than 550 people who believe in combining fun and fundraising.

It was the same scene with people greeting each other like family as they settled in for an evening of listening to Beach Boys singer Mike Love and joining him as he led the traditional Rotary sing along.

The evening ended with the promise of a concert next August by the legendary California band to raise funds for the Chatham Hospice.

The Field of Valour dinner honouring men and women who have served in combat was a moving event as seven veterans were given quilts, and one, Frank Embury of Blenheim, became a member of the French Legion of Honour.

The incredible stories of sacrifice by the young people of generations past are and continue to be an inspiration to those of us who are once again tasked with defending our freedom and our way of life.

Given the depth of character taking part at these events, there is no doubt we will meet that challenge as we always have.

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