One year ends and a new one begins.
Leaders and organizers in Derry and Londonderry are looking ahead to 2020, offering their wish lists for what they hope may get accomplished this year when it comes to community success and helping others.
Town officials continue to strive to help create a better, more affordable tax rates to alleviate stress on residents while supporting growth and economic development initiatives in town along with community spirit and helping those in need.
Derry fire Chief Michael Gagnon noted his department's primary goal for 2020 continues to be providing superior customer service to the residents and visitors of Derry.
"We want to assure a safe, efficient and effective response of appropriate resources and personnel to every emergency when needed," Gagnon said. "We will continue to expand our community risk reduction initiatives in an attempt to prevent or minimize the impact emergencies when they occur."
The chief also noted the department will continue to support regionalization of emergency services as seen in long-term success and contracts for fire/EMS dispatch and EMS transport services with neighboring communities.
"We will also continue to support our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) to keep our community safe during large scale emergencies," Gagnon said, adding the department's vision statement remains at the forefront.
“This organization shall strive to improve quality of life through innovative community risk reduction programs and effective delivery of emergency services as validated through accreditation and professional standards," the mission statement reads. "Our core values are 'Excellence through Professionalism, Integrity, and Compassion,' and it's our honor to serve."
In Londonderry, Town Manager Kevin Smith offered a few goals for the community. That includes keeping the economy secure and continuing to help residents keep more money in their wallet with a low tax rate.
"To continue to drive economic development in town to keep the local economy strong, as well as, grow the commercial/industrial tax base to keep taxes low," Smith said. "This will primarily happen in the Pettengill Road area, when Bellavance Beverage begins construction on their new distribution center, and Woodmont Commons beginning construction on their next phase."
Smith, also known as the longtime voice of Londonderry High School Lancer football, wants the team's 2019 state championship momentum to continue on the playing field.
"And also looking forward to Lancer football defending their state title in 2020," Smith said.
Those working for nonprofit groups and other service organizations also have high hopes for the new year.
Cindee Tanuma, executive director of Community Caregivers of Greater Derry, offered a view of her hopes for 2020.
"To find an office space for us to lease or buy in the summer of 2020," she said. "We are looking for a space more suitable to housing and cleaning our medical equipment and we would like to move back to Derry."
Caregivers, with its office located in Londonderry, bases its work on a strong volunteer corps that help elderly or disabled stay independent in their homes through light chores, transportation help, and friendship. The organization serves numerous towns in the area.
Caregivers previously operated from a space at the Masonic temple on East Broadway in Derry. Tanuma invited anyone knowing of a 2,000-square-foot industrial or mixed use space to please reach out and contact her.
The organization also hopes to start a major gifts program/planned giving campaign in the new year.
"This will help us cement our viability for many years," Tanuma said.
And more volunteers are always welcome and needed, she added.
"The low unemployment rate has been an adjustment for us," Tanuma said. "If people are adequately employed, they are less likely to volunteer more often. I am hoping that people still find the time to volunteer even if they are gainfully employed. We need volunteers more than ever as we have at least 100 snow bird volunteers away till May."
For The Upper Room, a Family Resource Center in Derry, the new year will be a time to keep the positive momentum going.
Executive Director Brenda Guggisberg said so many people are reaching out to help care for each other, through volunteerism or other means. She offered a few simple sentiments as 2020 starts.
"I hope for a community that works towards health and wellness in all measures," Guggisberg said. "I hope for the continuance of great partnerships within the community. I hope for the safety and growth of our children and youth, families and elderly. I hope for peace."