By Stephen Knight
The last two columns in this space concerned some of the predatory taxation schemes being proposed in Hartford. In rereading them, I see that I certainly did my share of grousing about the path that our state government seems to be hellbent on going down. It’s hard to resist the subject. For a columnist of my political persuasion, it’s a target-rich environment.
But it’s time to change things up a bit, return to Wallingford and shine some light on some of the good things going on here. This column will highlight three in particular that have to do with organizations in which I am involved, and I would like to abuse the privilege I have writing these columns and tell you something about them.
The first one is a new fundraising program being conducted by the Rotary Club of Wallingford and presented by Masonicare. It’s named Flags for Heroes, and it was inspired by information one of our members received from a club in Delaware.
The Rotary Club of Wallingford has purchased 100 American flags, and they are looking for 100 people or organizations to sponsor these flags, which will proudly fly on the hillside lawn at Masonicare from June 29 through July 13. Each sponsor will be able to name one of their personal heroes. It can be an active service member, a veteran, a first responder, or someone that has been a personal hero to them during their lives. It’s a wonderful way to say Thank you to those who have kept us safe, or, more personally, an opportunity to celebrate someone who has been an important influence in your life.
The sponsorships cost $50, and, for an additional $10, a name tag will be attached to the flag with the person’s name who is being honored. Every dime that is raised will find its way back into the community through local Rotary projects and grants to nonprofit organizations in town. You can find out more and even order and pay for a sponsorship at www.wallingfordrotary.com.
The second event I would like to plug is Wallingford Center’s 7th Annual Downtown Restaurant Hop. Seventeen restaurants and stores are participating this year. It is being held in the center of Wallingford on Wednesday, May 8 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Each restaurant or store will be giving out samples of the things they serve or sell to all ticketholders. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for kids under 12, and can be purchased at Hubcap Wallingford, Wallingford Lamp and Shade or Yankee Cloth. Or just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will deliver one to you. A list of participants can be found at www.wallingfordcenterinc.org.
This event has become one of the premier springtime events in town. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see friends you haven’t seen all winter, learn about many of the fine restaurants and shops in our downtown, and just enjoy a nice May evening. All the proceeds are put toward keeping the heart of Wallingford vibrant and successful and supporting all the small businesses that are located in the center of our community.
The third and last topic is to congratulate Hubcap Wallingford, located at 128 Center Street. This nonprofit just celebrated its fifth-year anniversary. Hubcap’s mission states: “The Hubcap Wallingford exists to provide authentic learning experiences and opportunities for collaboration between school, business, and community.” The facility houses Wallingford Center, Inc., and provides a large event space for meetings, as well as a conference room and three incubator offices.
Hubcap was begun by Joe Mirra of Economic Development, Liz Landow from WCI, and School Superintendent Sal Menzo, hence the mission to stimulate collaboration among the three elements of Wallingford. Dozens of organizations regularly hold meetings and events at Hubcap, and Hubcap itself has initiated or participated in many other community endeavors in its first five years of operation. It’s totally supported by business sponsorships, individual donations, and rental of its meeting rooms. In other words, it’s not financially subsidized by the Town of Wallingford, making its success over the past five years even more significant.
It might seem unfair to give just these three organizations space in this column, and indeed there are other great organizations like these three that are providing huge benefits to our community. But hey, these are the ones you are hearing about this week. I certainly hope to learn of many more so that I can share their stories with you.
A community is only as good as the people in it, and Wallingford has hundreds of people in many, many organizations that volunteer thousands upon thousands of hours toward making Wallingford a very special place. I urge you to get out there and take in some events, or join one of these organizations. You will quickly feel the same way.
Stephen Knight is a former Wallingford town councilor.