By Barbara Mellon

It has happened yet again.  Once again, the people of Andes have demonstrated what community is all about.

You’ll hear this theme a lot in this month’s issue, in light of the recent flooding the area sustained. Those stories really move me, because they deal with the natural human response to an emergency. In fact, after hearing about what my colleagues experienced in Walton, I realized that the despair I felt while watching last year’s coverage of Katrina, which so harshly affected the city I was born and raised in, was rather short-sighted. Behind each photo of the horrors wrought by Nature, or even of the ugly responses of some folks to it, there were surely dozens, maybe hundreds, of instances of people reaching out to help each other. Yes, I believe that human beings are intrinsically good.

Here in Andes, it doesn’t take a disaster of the proportions of a flood or a hurricane to bring out our sense of community.

Many of you may have heard the quasi-rumor that this year’s Andes Community Day was cancelled. That message was a result of the frustration of the dedicated team who had been working on this wonderful annual event, the same team who saw to it that last year’s celebration ran so smoothly despite the passing of our beloved George Calvert. In fact, the days events went so well and so smoothly, that I don’t believe anyone who attended the festivities had any idea how much hard work went in to making the day a success.

Well, this year they ran out of steam. Battling against other community and family commitments as well as some substantial health issues, they realized they weren’t going to be able to do it alone. Hence the cry for help that came out as a cancellation. Each and every resident of Andes, as well as anyone who has enjoyed the delights of Andes Community Day in the past, should offer up a great big Thank You to these devoted, hardworking people, among them, Dot Andrews, Joi Brundege, Barbara and Stan Cunningham, Marty Donnelly, and Linda Jones.

And now the good news. Their cry for help was heard, and it was answered, in good old Andes style. Some of the other groups who normally hold events on Community Day responded by deciding to continue on with their plans. Then the Andes Advertising Group turned over their monthly meeting to discussing what could be done to salvage the day, and invited a number of people they felt would be interested.

What a wonderful thing occurred at that and succeeding meetings.  I was there as a representative from the Andes Society for History and Culture, and what I saw in that room was heart-warming. A varied group of people attended: local business owners, Fire Department and EMS personnel, former Community Day volunteers, long-time residents, newcomers, you name it. All displayed a common interest in seeing that the 80th annual Andes Community Day happens on August 12th, 2006.

There was such excitement in the air as floats and games and music and even sanitation was discussed.  Some ideas, too costly or too big for the time left for planning, had to be shelved, perhaps for next year, as the group focused on what could be done to plan a day that truly celebrates the community of Andes, within the financial and time constraints.  If enthusiasm can ensure success, then this year’s Community Day will be among the best.

Let what happened this year be a lesson for us all. Never assume that something like Community Day “just happens.”  It takes commitment and hard work and lots and lots of hands. Volunteers are still needed for this year, for tasks like handing out programs, picking up supplies, emptying garbage cans, setting up tables and booths, assisting with games. If you are a teen or an adult, and can offer an hour or two, or a full day, before, during or after the festivities, please call Buffy Calvert at 676-3986 to sign up. Andes is your community; be a part of it