Merry Christmas, it's the one morning no one minds waking up early to an excited smile of someone eager to open presents, or share them with others.
Pastor Kristina Ahlman of Calvary Lutheran Church used to, and perhaps still does, give a sermon every year at the Christmas Eve Candlelight service. Ahlman would have two gifts, one wrapped in bright metallic foil and bows the other a plain cardboard box. Children would get excited about the beautifully wrapped gift, telling the pastor to open it first only to find it was empty. The plain box was the one that contained the Christmas gift.
The lesson of the sermon was it's not what's on the outside and how it's wrapped, but what's on the inside and the thought that counts. Its been the behind-the-scenes comments, feedback and interactions that keep us here at Hauppauge Patch going.
Hauppauge Patch, we hope, will be seen as a "gift" to be shared among local residents, providing the most up-to-date coverage of breaking news, school and community events, high school sports, regional issues and more. It allows you to post your comments on articles - each and every one is read-, shout out about events as they happen in the activity stream on the home page, engage in dialogue through the Q&A and more.
In less than three months, Hauppauge Patch has run hundreds of local stories focused on this community. Each article was meant to inform, help and assist the community in some way.
Yet, it's the events during its creation and feedback from these stories that have been a real gift. As editor of Hauppauge Patch, I wanted to share those behind-the-scenes moments - the ones hidden behind sometimes otherwise everyday moments, or that plain box - that have been gifts.
On a personal level, reporting on the community has allowed greater integration and submersion into my family's roots, who once owned a home on Arbor Lane. It's brought back memories of Sunday mornings at Hot Bagels, first dates at Branchinelli's and more.
The greater gifts are local resident's responses. When an oil tanker overturned on Motor Parkway, closing down intersections, Hauppauge Patch was one of the first to tweet out the road closures to divert accidents around the rush hour accident.
Patch received an e-mail form an unidentified mother, with a young toddler, who gave thanked us for the quick action. The tweet allowed the mother to avoid the accident, the Hauppauge resident said she was home on time without an upset child screaming for dinner. It was a small difference that made someone's evening better that mattered to us.
Another gift to Hauppauge Patch came at the candlelight vigil in memory of Courtney Sipes, a former Pines Elementary student. Upon approaching her parents, it was surprising to receive a hug for being there, being present and without asking too many questions allowing her family to talk. The conversation went something like:
"You probably don't recall, we've met before I'm from...," followed by "Patch" as a hug was exchanged.
Every comment, every response - passionate, thoughtful, inciteful or grateful - is a gift to Hauppauge Patch. It's what keeps us going, motivated to provide more detailed, indepth coverage of the community throughout the year.
Many more community members have e-mailed or spoken to Patch who deserve thanks, its hard to name each by name. Several of you serve as leaders in the community through committees, groups, youth organizations and more. Thank you.
So over the next week, as we reflect on those gifts we were given and the past year of news coverage, we'd like to ask you to keep those gifts coming.
Let Patch know what you want to see and read on this website, what's important to you and the community. Post a comment on an article, shout it out on our homepage or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There's a proverb that says its better to give than to receive, and with your feedback Hauppauge Patch can continue to provide better news coverage for you.