Stories of 2012: Building a Sense of Community
Join us as we count down some of the top stories in Merrimack in 2012.
Merrimack Patch has it's first full year in the books and what a year it's been! We re-elected President Barack Obama to another four years, and hey, the Mayan apocalypse didn't happen, so congratulations, we're all still here.
From the opening of the Merrimack Premium Outlets to another Halloween storm that cut power to thousands for days, there's been no shortage of news in town. We've seen businesses and residents in the community doing wonderful things to support their neighbors and communities as far away as Haiti. There's been business growth, and sadly a few closures.
There have been exciting moments in sports with the boys varsity basketball state championship, the baseball team playing, but unfortunately losing their state championship, and the Merrimack Cardinals Midget Cheerleaders win at nationals earlier this month. Another Rock'n Ribfest was written into the books, as was a continually-growing Merrimack Fall Festival and Business Expo, and the midway returned to town on the Fourth of July after a short hiatus.
Join us as we count down some of the top stories of the year between today and Dec. 30. Thank you for making this a wonderful year. Enjoy the final days of 2012, we can't wait to see what 2013 has in store!
7. Building a Sense of Community
On April 10, a Merrimack resident who was injured while serving in Afghanistan in 2011, celebrated with the community the renovation of his home by a local organization designed to assist Marines who've been injured in combat.
Chuck Donnelly, who stepped on an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan in May of 2011 and subsequently lost a portion of one leg, was given a home renovation thanks to Londonderry-based Building Dreams for Marines.
The 27-year-old told a large group of guests at his Woodland Drive home for the unveiling that he'd lost his sense of community the day he stepped on that IED, but thanks to the dedication of those involved in the project, that sense of community had been restored.
“My sense of community was ripped from me, was taken from me and it was really hard to get back until today and Building Dreams for Marines, you know it really shows the community still cares,” Donnelly said before a crowd gathered at his house for the ribbon cutting on a renovation project performed by nonprofit organization Building Dreams for Marines. “That is what my biggest improvement on life. Not prosthetics, not the medical treatment that I've received. It's really seeing everyone coming out here and caring and showing how much they care.”
The renovations made to the home he shares with his wife Kerry included removing pocket doors and widening doorways, a total remake of the kitchen, leveling the floors and updating the bathrooms and fitting handrails near the toilets and installing handrails and a seat in the shower in the master bedroom.
“We need to do something for people like Chuck that have served their country and deserve more coming home after they've served and then living their life in an uncomfortable lifestyle,” said Brian Hooper, founder of Building Dreams for Marines.
Catch up on our other stories of the year: