While we just celebrated the Fourth of July, every other week in Williston feels like thanksgiving to me because I am constantly reminded that Williston is a community to be thankful for.

A lot has happened this last week, and while most of it has been good, it’s easy to get distracted by the bad. That said, you can’t have a rainbow without rain and Williston has given three large demonstrations of that since last Monday.

First, the “Save the 4th of July” fireworks display at the fairgrounds on Thursday — an event that becomes bigger and better every year — exists because a group of concerned citizens wanted to make sure that all of Williston had a free community celebration and fireworks show to enjoy. Although the Williston CVB matches the donated amount up to $10,000, this group of people fundraise and donate their time — hundreds of volunteer hours — to putting this event on for the greater public. They literally brought bright, beautiful lights to an otherwise dark situation.

Then, at the celebration, organizers realized that a number of the hired event security didn’t show up, but the Williston Police Department did. Although it’s routine for officers to stop-by community events, our officers readily offered their support to make sure that the show would go on, and that their friends and neighbors and the community they serve could enjoy a safe Independence Day celebration.

While my first example is of how a group of people came together to make a difference, and my second example is how an organization of people can, this last one touches on how one individual can have an impact; Jeremy Dawson jumped a fence on Monday to help a woman and two children being attacked by four dogs. He heard the screams for help coming from the playground across the street and he did what I think we all hope we would do, what we all hope someone would do for us — he helped.

Jeremy didn’t think about himself, he thought about what he might be able to do for others. He saw a need and instead of asking himself who should have done something, he did something. He was, in that moment, the citizen that I truly believe each and every person in Williston can be. The person who sees something, and does something. I don’t want to encourage anyone to put their own safety at risk, but I do want to make it clear that there are a lot of ways you can make the same kind of difference Jeremy did last Monday. If you see something, report it. That simple action, letting the right people know, makes a difference.

Williston follows through, and Williston follows-up. You may not always notice, but every person working for the City of Williston — as well as your City Commissioners — are constantly doing everything within their power to make sure Williston is a safe, vibrant community. Case in point, on July 4 — earlier in the evening, before the fireworks — dispatch received a hang-up 911 call. After contacting the person who had made the call and verifying that the call was made by accident, an officer was still dispatched to the location to make sure that the caller was indeed safe. Yes, this is our policy — because our policy is our citizen’s well-being.

On behalf of the City of Williston, I’d like to thank Jeremy Dawson for being yet another example of how when people in Williston see a need, they do something about it. I’d also like to thank the Williston Police department for being a real part of this community and viewing our citizens as people to protect, instead of people to police. I’d also like to thank the community event organizers in Williston, regardless of organization or affiliation, for giving the people in Williston all the opportunities you do.

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