Last Great Place, January 2023Jan 01, 2023 09:58AM ● By Lilace Mellin Guignard
At Mountain Home, we love hearing about what happens after a story is published.
Like when the folks at Williamsport Bicycle Recycle tell how a man pulled up to offer a $200 donation. Louisa Stone told us, “Thumbing through the June 2022 issue of Mountain Home at the Wellsboro Diner, he found [the story]. He and his wife were heading home. He had to persuade her to take time for the side trip. He’s a cyclist. It’s his dream to start a place that sells bikes at reasonable prices and teaches bike repair.” The Stones hadn’t even known the June issue had been released. They received two more donations directly because of the story. “This was the best article about us in all our eight years,” says Louisa.
See, the story after the story is usually the story of you, our readers, taking action. Making this great place we live in even better.
Remember Rosie whose diner in Tioga provides free Thanksgiving dinners and uses whatever donations they receive to buy gifts for children in their community? That story in the November issue must have gotten folks in the giving spirit because before Thanksgiving even came, they’d raised $2,500. Melissa “Mel” Gee, a server and Rosie’s niece, says people would come in and take a magazine to read while they ate. “They’d say, ‘This is a great article. What y’all are doing here is great,’ and then they’d give us a donation.” When Thanksgiving did arrive, they served 450 dinners—150 more than the year before. Santa and Mrs. Claus got dinner too. I don’t know if they heard about Rosie from us or not. That woman has connections.
Virginia Gee, Rosie’s sister, handles the donations and getting the gifts. She tells of a man from New York City who read the article and came by to donate $500, asking that he stay anonymous. It’s almost like a Hallmark movie, but without the golden retriever. The final count was $5,000 raised.
The year before it’d been about half that. After buying gifts for forty kids, Virginia still had $480 left, so she called up the Tioga Roller Rink and arranged to host an admission-free New Year’s Eve skating party.
Looking back on 2022, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together. It means a lot to us that our readers are the kind of people who will go out of their way for others. And sometimes we’re sent a note so sweet, it goes in a file labeled “Mountain Home love letters.” Like one from Mary Moyer of Hammondsport, who wrote to tell us how much she enjoys our publication and even though she picks it up free, she wants to show more support. So, she sent us a check for a subscription, but said not to send her anything, she’d just keep picking it up free at Wegmans. “I feel better already!” she wrote.
It made us feel pretty good too.