Spring is the time for awards of all kinds, from academic honors bestowed at commencement ceremonies to plaques and citations given at annual meetings and dinners.
Today, on page one, you’ll find the first in a Sunday series called “Difference Makers” about local people making a difference for the good.
There’s no shortage of such people hereabouts. Open the pages of the paper on almost any day, and you’ll find many people deserving of thanks and praise for helping others or the community at large.
Here are a few worthy of mention from just the past week:
— Methuen High students Scott Yim and Madison Aleksa helped organize the first Methuen Relay for Life, part of a national fundraising effort for cancer research. Last weekend, almost 1,000 people on more than 90 teams turned out for the fifth annual Relay. Yim was there to see the fruits of the seeds he helped plant. “This is no longer our event, but everyone’s in Methuen,” said Yim, a newly minted Harvard grad. Current Methuen High students carry on the tradition. Abby Case, Jake Fabrizio and Laura Quinn co-chaired this year’s event, which brought the total raised to more than $1.2 million.
— Groundwork Lawrence worked for more than a decade to make the Spicket River Greenway a reality and last week officially opened the 3.5-mile “emerald bracelet,” a smaller version of Boston’s famed “Emerald Necklace.” The Greenway incorporates six Lawrence parks, with a seventh to come, and paths for bicyclists and walkers. “It’s amazing to see what was there before and what is there now,” said Heather McMann, executive director of the nonprofit Groundwork Lawrence, which has led an annual cleanup of the Spicket River for 11 years, removing more than 110 tons of debris.
— Fifty-four members of the Salem Fire Department shaved their heads in support of fellow firefighter Capt. Steve McKenna, who is battling cancer. Besides offering a visible symbol of the “brotherhood” of firefighters, the group is also organizing fundraisers to help McKenna and his family. “In the fire service, everyone pulls together when someone is in need of help,” Firefighter Chris Geras said.