A somewhat muted greeting today Countryside family!
September 11th gets to me. Our family happened to be living about 45 minutes west of New York City in 2001 and had numerous friends and neighbors who worked in the city. Early that morning, my husband called me from Route 80 on his way into his office in Teterboro, on the New Jersey side of the Hudson. He saw smoke in the distance and wanted to see if I could turn on the news to see what was going on.
I had just put my son on the bus to kindergarten and had a short window of time before I was due to take my daughter to her first day of preschool. I turned the TV on about 10 minutes before the second plane hit.
The rest of that day was a blur. No one knew whether it was safe or not to leave our kids at school. Our neighbors trickled back home over the course of the afternoon, although several of them did not make it back for 24-48 hours afterwards. My sister, who was working for the Red Cross in the Washington DC area was receiving urgent messages from national headquarters all day long. It felt surreal.
That evening came the call from a family friend that his sister’s fiancee’, Chris Dincuff, who we had seen barely two weeks earlier, had been in the North Tower at the time it was hit. And I guess I don’t have to tell you that Chris did not survive, and is now memorialized at the 9-11 museum with the thousands of others who lost their lives that day.
So every September 11, you may notice that I wear the ribbon I received at Chris’ funeral. It is 14 years old, yellowing a bit after all this time, but I feel it is important to honor his memory.
I know mine is only one of millions of stories out there that happened on this day back in 2001. And I think many of you would agree that we were once again reminded that life is short, nothing is guaranteed and we need to tell the ones around us that we love them.
Using this as a rather obvious segue, I want to mention a new employee recognition program that we are rolling out today, named after my series of cheesy Friday emails called “Bright Spots.” As I have repeated many times, there are many Bright Spots here at Countryside, and we wanted you to have an opportunity to share them in a public place with a fun reward thrown in. So today, you will notice some new cards and stickers on the glass divider next to the front desk. The cards look like this:
They are quick and easy to complete, and allow you to give your peers a shout out when they do something you believe is worth recognition. It doesn’t have to be a huge project, it can be something little or something that you think is important for others to know.
When you’ve completed the cards, please leave them at the front desk. I will review and post them, and at the end of each month will clear the board and have a random drawing for a $25 gift card to the selected name.
I was happy to place the first Bright Spot on the board yesterday. Jenny Hathaway took the initiative to plan a “build your own salad” event in the Henkle last Wednesday. As far as I’m concerned, there are never enough chances for staff to connect in a social fashion, so I appreciated her taking the initiative. There may have been sweets in addition to salad, I confess! There was also Debra Phillips with a selfie stick, which in and of itself was entertaining!
So my wish for you this weekend is to hug the ones you love a little closer and TELL THEM what they mean to you. As always, I am proud to be a part of the Y, to have such amazing employees as part of my work family. You help me to answer all of the following questions with a resounding “YES!”
Have a wonderful weekend,