2016-12-08 / Editorial

Honoring men and women in blue

Beyond the Headlines
by Sen. Justin Chenette

Every year I participate in Saco Museum’s annual Festival of Trees. It’s a fun way to get involved around the holidays and support our gem of a museum and library. Last year I designed a tree that aimed to honor all of my family members that served and are currently serving in the armed forces (there are quite a few). It was red, white and blue-themed and it screamed, “Fourth of July.” This year though, I wanted to turn our attention to people equally as important who rarely get the recognition they so desperately deserve – our police department.

Between horrific police killings and negative headlines across the country, it’s time to shine the spotlight on the good work that takes place each and every day that you might not see. It takes a special breed of people to put on the blue uniform and put their lives on the line for others. The men and women in law enforcement swear an oath to serve and protect our community. The Saco Police Department is as committed and dedicated as they come to promote good public safety in our own backyard.

Thus, my tree design for the festival this year is blue and white, adorned with pictures of local law enforcement officials, including our retiring police chief, Brad Paul. It also has a mirror, which I like to refer to as a glimpse into who the police protect. I’ll give you three guesses as to who might that be. At the base of the tree are blue light bulbs that people are encouraged to take with them and to place in their windows using plug-in candle lights. This is all part of my nonprofit, the Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement’s Project Blue Light, that helps to honor local law enforcement by shining blue all over our area. It’s a simple way to say thank you for a job well done. Last year, Saco City Hall even changed out its clock tower light to participate as well as it shined blue out over our historic downtown.

This year’s theme for the festival is “Reflections of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.” This annual event has been going on 12 years running and you can see why. The Saco Museum staff and army of volunteers pour their hearts into making this as festive as possible.

Trees are lined throughout the museum along with handmade gingerbread houses, decorated wreaths and many more things to transport you into a holidaythemed wonderland.

Admission to the festival is free, so grab a friend or bring the whole family down. The hours are noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; noon to 8 p.m. Friday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Hope to see you there!

Justin Chenette is serving his first term as the youngest senator in the Maine Senate representing Saco, OOB, Hollis, Limington and Buxton. He previously served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives. Outside the Legislature, he is owner of Chenette Media LLC, a multimedia public relations company, and is the president/CEO of the Saco Bay Center of Civic Engagement, a 501c3 nonprofit service organization. Follow updates atw www.justinchenette.com, Facebook.com/JustinChenette, and Twitter.com/ JustinChenette.

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