We won't be advocating that the hamlet of Wilmington be renamed Holzerville, as has been suggested by some of Roy and Becky Holzers' friends, but we are overwhelmingly impressed with their plans to install gas pumps at their Little Supermarket property.
This business decision may sound trivial on its face value; however, the gesture is a monumental example of community spirit, one we rarely see in today's society.
There is a lot of money to be made in the gasoline business if you are the manufacturer, but there is little profit for the mom-and-pop shops selling it to customers. Given the tiny profit margin, the Holzers are taking a huge risk to invest in their gas pumps, including the tanks and pumps to dispense the gas and diesel plus the time and money for site plans and regulatory approval. The decision wasn't an easy one, but it is probably the only one Roy and Becky could make. And for this, we're grateful.
After all, it would be hard to find more active supporters and boosters of the town of Wilmington than the Holzers. They toil for their neighbors. They provide needed services in town, from groceries to hardware, and continue to invest in their community. Just look at their handiwork restoring the Whiteface Range Hall, and you'll see what we mean.
We see the economic risk the Holzers are taking with the gas pumps -?especially since nobody else would step up and do it -?and we understand what true community leadership is all about. It's about leading by example, raising the bar, and working long hours to improve your community in the face of overwhelming odds.
Wilmington residents have lived in the shadow of Lake Placid for decades. (Cue the "Underdog" theme song.) But this town - by all standards an Olympic town since it was home to the alpine events in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games - is the quintessential Adirondack town, with plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, mountain scenery and a friendly population. It is ripe for economic development. It has a lot of potential. Thank goodness there are people like the Holzers who recognize that potential and are willing to put their finances on the line because they believe in their community. Like them, we believe Wilmington is worth the investment.
Now we need more people to step up. Stop complaining and contribute something. If you don't have the money, volunteer your ideas and your time. If you wait for someone else to show up and do it, it will never get done.
Some say that when the Wilmington elementary school closed in the 1960s, as school districts were being centralized, the town lost part of its soul. Part of that sense of community vanished as all the students were shipped to Clintonville or Lake Placid for their education. Wilmington has never been quite the same.
Yet there is still a tight-knit community in Wilmington, one with a bright future. Those investments in community parks and youth programs have paid off, but there's much more to be done.
Dream big, and you'll get there.