By HDN staff
This Saturday, Nov. 27, the community will once again have the opportunity to watch the lighting of the community Christmas tree and enjoy the other benefits of the 1999 Christmas Stroll.
It will be a treat that almost wasn't this year. A lack of time on the part of over worked volunteers nearly brought the age old tradition to an end.
When the news was first announced in a Havre Daily News editorial that the stroll might be canceled, several merchants and private citizens stepped foreword to offer their help.
It was not something they had to do and it was not something they were paid to do, it is merely something they wanted to do because they, like we, believe the community enjoys, and deserves a Christmas Stroll. Their selfless dedication to the enjoyment of others is to be commended and proves once again that in "Havre ... It's The People."
Not surprisingly, the cynics will claim the stroll is nothing but a slick way to promote business and put dollars in the pockets of local businesses. But, to the child on the street drinking hot chocolate and watching Santa flip the switch that lights the community Christmas tree, it is not an economic issue.
Havre is truly blessed to have the kind of community where merchants are willing to support, not just the stroll, but other local events and projects as well. It is the local merchant who gives your child their first job and collects food for the community food bank. It is the local businessman who helps finance a students' trip, donates prizes for contests, or gives to the 4-H, Girls Scouts, or Havre High Cheerleaders.
Very few of these volunteers and merchants bother to make their contributions known, preferring instead to not make a big deal out of something they feel is part of the pay-back owed their loyal customers for supporting them. While the cynics condemn the merchants' motives as being greedy, the merchants continue to make Havre a better place to live.
Imagine what Havre would be like without them. Imagine having to drive to Great Falls every time you need a pair of socks, a light bulb or something fixed on your car.
During this time of the year the community has a chance to finally say "thank you" to the merchants who give so much to us.
Do them a favor before you jump in the car and drive to Great Falls to shop -- give them a chance to compete. Consider the benefits of supporting local merchants, it's they who support you.