WholeHeart, Inc. is the fiscal agent for the Community Allies for Safety, Trust & Respect - a group of representatives from various local organizations and community members who support critical conversations and community celebrations. We believe that all people deserve to feel safety, trust, and respect in their lives and we are committed to making our greater community a place that stands by these values.
This year we are asking the question: “What do you love about Hardwick (or your home place)?”
While out riding the back roads in search of lawn sales with my partner a few days ago, I remarked that one of the things I’ve always loved about the part of the state we live in is that there’s almost always a back road shortcut to get from one town to another that’s more efficient than taking the paved route. Our back roads are a perfect analogy for what I love most about our community and the people in it: we’re all connected.
Hardwick, in many ways, has changed a lot in the three decades since I was born here. Yet, in many ways, it remains remarkably similar to some of my earliest childhood memories. Growing up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s in such a rural setting, nobody had ever heard of a cell phone, the internet, Facebook, or driverless cars. It was a simpler time.
I believe that growing up in this community taught me some great life skills and values that I may not have learned in other locales. Although none of us are perfect, and we can all always strive to do better, it has always been my sense that there is a strong percentage of our community who live with their whole hearts. Hardwick was, and still is, the type of town where someone will stop to help someone else with a flat tire on the side of the road. Hardwick is the type of town where your neighbor will help you mow your lawn or shovel your driveway when you’re in need of a helping hand. Hardwick is the type of town where young people respect their elders and the elders respect the young people. Hardwick is the type of town where everyone becomes a basketball fan to support the Hazen Union Wildcats on their road to the Barre Auditorium. Hardwick is the type of town where you can stop in at your favorite local eatery and you’re guaranteed to run into someone you know. Hardwick is the type of town where, if you’re in need of a hand up, there are many hands ready to choose from.
I’m thankful to have grown up here and to now call Hardwick home in my adult life. I hope that, especially in these polarizing times, we can find ways to extend these Hardwick values to everyone we come in contact with in our lives. While I think we can always work on improving the things that are already great about our community, I sincerely hope that, in many ways, Hardwick never really changes.
Matt Renaud is an active member of Community Allies and 9th generation Hardwickian. Come meet Matt and join in the festivities at the 2nd Annual Community Allies Block Party on Saturday, Sept. 16, 4-7 pm in Atkins Field, Hardwick, VT. Free food, pie eating contests, music and a great taste of why so many love this community!