I live in a small town in semi-rural New Jersey. Well at least it was semi-rural when I moved here 17 years ago. Brookside is a historic town dating back to 1749 before there was a United States of America. It’s a quiet little town with less people living here now than there were during the American Revolution. This area was pro American and General Washington had his headquarters just 5 miles away in Morristown.
Every year, the big event in town is the Fourth of July Parade. I have seen every one since moving here in 1994 – except last year when Erin and I were in Nepal. It’s a quaint little parade with boys scouts and girl scouts, fire trucks and tractors, family floats and even a mini parade within the parade – “the pooch parade”. Folks sit along the sides of East Main Street or watch from their porches as their friends and neighbors pass by in celebration of our nation’s independence.
It’s the kind of community affair that is slowly disappearing from America. It’s one day where we all slow down and re-connect with one another. Each year we honor a Community Service recipient. This year the award went to Maggie Doyne. Brookside is in Mendham Township, so technically, Maggie isn’t a resident because she lives in the next town over, Mendham Borough. Mendham Township actually circles around the borough like a donut and the two towns share the same high school. That’s how Maggie and Erin know each other, they were in the same graduating class. But Maggie has become our local hero and we all claim her as our own.
In 2005, Erin went off to college like most kids did in her graduating class. Maggie took a gap year that turned into a different life’s path for her. And what a path she has taken. It’s amazing what Maggie has done at such a young age. She is twenty four years old and has built a home for 35 orphaned children whom she lives with in Nepal, as well as built a school for over 250 children. She has not only been an inspiration for our film project, but has motivated countless others who have heard her story.
Watch Video of Maggie in July 4th Parade
Maggie July 4th USA For Web
I put together a few clips of Maggie at the last Monday’s parade. I’d like her children to see Maggie riding in the convertible, throwing candy to children in the little town that she grew up in – on the Fourth of July in the USA.