In Potomac, as across America, the character of a hometown is framed and carried forward by its people, those who have lived here for decades and those for a few months. Involvement by volunteers creates a hometown. Schools, places of worship, sports, protection of the environment, all reflect the goals and depth of dedication of its people.
In June, Potomac is a place of grinning graduates and proud parents. Potomac schools, according to Newsweek magazine, are among the best in the nation. Their success is tied to the vigorous support of its parents groups.
Volunteers make our Potomac a fun place. What is more delicious than seeing at the Potomac Library very young children sprawl in over-stuffed cushions, half-hidden behind huge picture books? Or, we all can enjoy a production of the Potomac Community Theater.
If we were to keep a photo album of Potomac events, we would include the meets at swim clubs and the Fourth of July Run for Autism. And for those less athletic, we would want a photo of the canal barge.
And, of course, each year, a huge corps of volunteers pulls off one of the best hometown parades: The Potomac Day Parade. Scouts, kids dressed in Halloween costumes, pickup trucks gussied up as floats, smiling politicians, march up River Road. Realtors distribute balloons from huge, airy bouquets. DAR members pass out tiny American flags. For glamour, the parade often has the Potomac Hunt. Its members, dressed in luxurious black and brilliant red, carefully guide their horses and seem not to notice that they look drop-dead gorgeous.
Fire engines, sirens cranked up high, and the brassy high school band, pound out the song of October and hometown parades. What a parade, what a community!
It is not, of course, all parades and fun events. The identity of a community needs vigilant safe-guarding. The West Montgomery County Citizens Association a volunteer, tenacious watchdog, gathers data, holds meetings, and testifies before the County Council and the Planning Board.
Along with its identity, a community must have a soul. Its people must look beyond their own lives. Charities that raise funds for research and organizations that need a host of volunteers to provide individual care look to Potomac people for support.
Potomac, like every hometown, is never finished. Its people determine its character. Come along and be involved in creating your own hometown.
<b>By Jean Cryor</b>
(<i>Jean Cryor is a commissioner of the Montgomery County Planning Board, a former three-term state delegate and a long-time Potomac resident.</i>)