There are countless examples of community spirit and public generosity in Tooele County that merit applause. But two we’d like to highlight because they go a long way in generating a vital sense of community and belonging in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world.
For years, Rush Valley, Stockton, Erda, Stansbury Park and Lake Point have set aside one or two days every summer to celebrate their residents and heritage. They’re called “Community Days.” Residents, and often lots of visitors, spend a Saturday together, usually in a park, enjoying homemade food, activities and entertainment.
That time together is not just for a couple of hours and then everyone goes back to their weekend routine; it’s usually from early morning until well into nightfall. And except for the occasional ring from a mobile phone, most attendees spend the time letting each other know they’re a valued part of the community.
Throughout the summer, the Transcript Bulletin has covered each of those community days. The results of which we have published as photo essays on either the front page or as a Hometown feature. We have done so because we feel each of those community days shows the true generous, open-hearted spirit of residents. We also feel they fulfill an important need in a county that is trying to balance both urban growth without losing its rural roots.
Organizers behind each community days are owed deep gratitude for sacrificing personal time and conducting each event for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. It is our hope that community days in each of those communities will continue for years to come.
The other example involves local efforts to make sure less fortunate county residents have a shirt on their back and food to eat. On Aug. 7-8, the eighth annual Back-To-School Community Closet was held at the Community Learning Center in Tooele. The event helped 1,500 area students and their families get ready for school with free clothing, shoes, school supplies, hygiene products and haircuts.
Local residents, businesses, churches, agencies and organizations donated materials and volunteered for the event. Kendall Thomas, chairman of the Tooele County Homeless Coordinating Council, put it best: “I don’t think a lot of people realize the magnitude of need for this kind of help in our community. … To see the faces and hear the gratitude expressed by the children and parents is very heartwarming.”
Fortunately, many citizens do see the need — and give generously — as again shown at the third annual Rockin’ Northern Utah concert and food drive on Saturday. Admission was a bag of non-perishable food and attendees reportedly donated between four and six tons. And on Aug. 21-22, the Beanstock Music Festival at Deseret Peak Complex raised more than $7,600 and collected over two tons of food.
All donated food from both concerts, and cash proceeds from Beanstock, will help feed Tooele County families in need.
Futurist author Alvin Toffler wrote that any decent society must generate a feeling of community to offset loneliness. But because today’s institutions on which community depends “are crumbling in all the techno-societies,” loneliness is spreading like a plague.
We like to say that isn’t entirely the case in Tooele County. Community spirit and generosity given by local residents, businesses, churches, agencies and organizations makes a difference here.