Every year I participate in the 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 something equally as important and rarely gets 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 taking 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. Three guesses who might that be. At the base of the tree are blue light bulbs that people are encouraged to take with them and 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 our local law enforcement by shining blue all over our area. Just a simple way to say thank you for a job well done. Last year, Saco City Hall even changed out their 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 holiday-themed wonder.
The festival has free admission, so grab a friend, bring the whole family down. The hours are Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from Noon to 5pm; Friday Noon to 8pm; and Saturday 10am to 5pm. 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, & 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 at www.justinchenette.com, Facebook.com/JustinChenette, and Twitter.com/ JustinChenette.
Beyond the Headlines
Weekly Column featured in The Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier Newspaper by Rep. Justin Chenette of Saco