To those who make things better

In just about every community there are people who work behind the scenes to make our towns more than they would be otherwise. If the truth were known, they do what they do because they love their community and would likely just as soon go about their business unnoticed. But a kind word of appreciation can never hurt.

So this week I would like to express my appreciation, no doubt speaking for a couple communities as a whole, to a few people.

Before The Times-Gazette downsized its offices at the turn of the year, I had an office window that looked out over downtown Hillsboro. Around 5 p.m. each evening in the more pleasant months of the year I would look out to see a community volunteer driving around in a golf cart watering the flowers in front of our offices and around the downtown area.

I always wanted to ask why they took time out of their busy schedules daily to beatify the downtown, maybe even write a little story about it. But having been told before that those involved did not want publicity, I never did.

Then came this year and the flowers in the planters and hanging baskets around the center of the city are possibly more eye-catching than they have ever been.

Just this week I received an email from high school classmate that had been out of town for several months. In part, it said, “Seeing our courthouse is all I have left of growing up in Hillsboro that touches my heart.” The classmate was talking about buildings at that particular moment, but also mentioned the flowers that adorn the uptown area. “I’ll drive uptown just to view it,” the classmate wrote, adding that the secret volunteer work is appreciated.

I agree, because sometimes I, too, will drive through the center of town — which at least in the daytime hours I usually try to avoid — just take to take a look.

Just this week the Hillsboro Garden Club announced the winners of its 2021 landscaping awards. Among the winners in the community category were: “Bill and Lynn Musser for the window boxes at 138 South High Street and the ‘pocket gardens’ along the first blocks of East and West Main streets. Also Jenny Hart, Jennifer Howland and Buck Wilkin for the planters and hanging baskets in uptown Hillsboro,” the garden club wrote.

Through the years several others have contributed to the planters and hanging baskets in uptown Hillsboro, so here’s a tip of the hat to them, too.

Over in Greenfield, administrators this week recognized three citizens —Michael Fryer, Mike Seely and John Wilson — for their contributions to the town.

I do not know Mr. Fryer and Mr. Wilson, but have known Mike Seely for a long time. I met him decades ago when we were both taking photos of McClain High School kids for each upcoming athletic season. Mike’s job was more important because he was taking pictures of all the teams and all the kids for family keepsakes and to help the school, while I was only interested in the varsity kids for newspaper publications.

But that never mattered to Mike. He always stepped aside to let me do whatever it was I needed to do, and often worked his schedule of pictures around mine to save me time — so that I didn’t have to wait on every team from seventh grade on up.

In more recent years he has shared several pictures with The Times-Gazette, never turning down any request we made to use one his outstanding photos.

This week the village of Greenfield presented Mike with a proclamation celebrating Seely Portraits’ 40th anniversary this month and proclaiming Aug. 18 Mike Seely Day in Greenfield. The proclamation recognized Seely for his tireless coverage of the village and its residents over the years. It noted how he has captured so many milestone moments of the residents of Greenfield, as well as so much of Greenfield and the area, and how he is always willing to share his work with other organizations and publications.

There are many people who work behind the scenes throughout Highland County to a make it a better place to live. Thank you — each and every one.

Jeff Gilliland is the editor of The Times-Gazette. He can be reached atn or 937-402-2522.

Jeff Gilliland Staff columnist Gilliland Staff columnist