Editorial: A challenge to embrace
As Middlebury bids John and Bonnie McCardell its fondest farewell and best wishes in their new venture, there is yet one more reason to treasure their arrival in town (separately) more than 30 years ago: with a new challenge to meet emerging needs through the United Way, the McCardells have again set the bar a notch higher in ways to give back to one’s community.
The fund itself, called the “Addison County Funders’ Collaborative for Emerging Needs, is uniquely flexible. Its objective is to scan the horizon each year, anticipate new needs that are not being met by existing funds or agencies, and move in to resolve those hardships for area residents to the best of the fund’s ability. The Vermont Community Foundation, also based in Middlebury, has been tapped as a supporting partner. And while the fund will be administered by the United Way of Addison County, it is set up to bring in money over and above what is typically donated to the United Way’s annual campaign — so it is new money, not money taken from one pot only to be shifted to another.
But it is more than the fund’s specifics that make the McCardell’s parting act so notable: rather, it is that they have given so much of themselves for so many years and yet, when asked how the community could say thanks, they turn around and seek ways to give even more. To those of us celebrating the event at the Edgewood Gallery this past Monday afternoon, the take-home moment came not so much in honoring the McCardells and celebrating this new fund, but in recognizing that such giving is what makes Middlebury and Addison County such a wonderful place to live.
In their typically humble ways, the McCardells thanked the community for “teaching them so much” in the process of learning how to give and hoped that their lasting legacy, if anything, would be to inspire and motivate others to also give back to the towns in which they live. It is that giving back, they so aptly reminded us, that truly makes us happy.
It is an admirable legacy to leave, and a challenge each of us should embrace with sincerity.
Angelo S. Lynn