Opinion: All must be vigilant to protect vulnerable in community

In these turbulent political times our women are becoming more assertive of their presence. We have an established woman representative who is vying for the presidency a second time, women will be serving on the front lines in battle in the military, and educated women are becoming forerunners in the business world. To note for all Americans is equal rights with equal pay. For me as a concerned voter, these are great strides in the mindset of our evolving democracy. For all people, by all people.
Middlebury and Addison County are at a crossroads — maybe that’s why the shire town is named MIDDLEbury. This is a call for concern from a responsible community member to keep our women, children and elderly safe and secure from transients who access our services, coming from troubled cities like Rutland and Burlington. Middlebury has aged core values, integrity and a history that needs desperately to be preserved. It takes a village.
My personal interest in our physical and emotional safety as a people is two close friends of female gender who were abused and tainted by unwanted predators. One died, being homeless and being not familiar with our services and community, and another was physically and sexually abused by an intruder.
WomenSafe and advocacy services do a good job, but inherent in our human condition is inclusive mutual respect, friendly manners, dialogue and connecting. The outside interests passing through our area are not always this way. This is a cry out for our people to keep their eyes and ears open, make calls on noticing potential conflict, and intervene before crisis happens.
Of course, we take care of our own. I read papers like the Valley Voice, the Eagle, and Addison Independent, and our devoted, caring volunteers and longtime established folks have put in long hours to put Middlebury on the map. We can move forward together and bond to battle the forces which could divide us — and cause scars on our loving families. Our children and women mark our future.
The phone is a great tool in the modern day. Our lawn enforcement is trained and will be responsive. Our vets in the community are watchdogs. We can be of sound mind that we can travel freely and be comfortable and secure in any establishment and home.
I have come to respect and love my community and neighborhood, living here for two years and learning the rich culture and enjoying the beauty of this green state. I believe, as the license plate says, “I am Vermont strong.”
Barry Churchill

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