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Three cheers for Paxton! Thank you for being the fabulous small town with a big heart that I’ve loved for 50 years. In spite of everything that has been endured by those who know the town’s sour underbelly all too well, Paxton is a city of friendly people who are good at heart. Anne Frank expressed this sentiment. She believed it. I do, too.

Each person who attended the Paxton LGBTQ Pride March on Sunday was asked to think of someone in their life who helped remind them how beautiful, wonderful and worthy of love they each are when others have tried to convince them otherwise with slurs, threats or judgment. As we each brought that loving person into our minds and hearts, I asked each person present to try to be that person for someone else.

I extend my humble and sincere gratitude to each and every one of these life-saving people. Thank you for showing love, and for showing the power and influence of the golden rule.

I’ve been called brave for organizing the event here. Many have told me how proud they are of me, including some I’ve waited a lifetime to hear express those words to me. The reason people have expressed these things is because they know in their hearts how difficult it is to put on an event like this in a town like this. I was more concerned about not doing this than I was about any negative reaction, because I know that love prevails.

I would like to thank the following individuals who have donated selflessly and in some cases anonymously to make sure that we were safe and comfortable with everything we needed: Jenna and Marc Amore and family, Cordelia and Deane Geiken, the Arcade Cafe and the Nahum and Silvia Rodriguez family, Vintage Karma Tattoo in Tuscola, Derrick Babbs and the Ford County Historical Society, Carla Patterson, Vicki Cooper, Rob Yates and Ashlee Cage, Paxton police, Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold, Charlotte and Jerry McClure and family, BJ Irish, Travis Pemberton, Will Brumleve and the Ford County Record, the saxophone soloist and the bubbles people.

I’m proud of all of you. This event was organized to help our children as they are the future.