My wife, Anne, and I have lived in this part of Massachusetts our entire lives and we've lived in Pepperell for almost 14 years. This is the only home our boys have known and we'd expected it to remain so.

But now an opportunity that we feel we cannot ignore has us relocating to Ithaca, N.Y. We're excited about the possibilities and look forward to a new adventure, but we regret leaving the friends we've made here and the community they've helped make for our family. Leaving Pepperell is very difficult.

I've met many of those friends by volunteering around town in various ways -- in town government, as a Little League coach, and as a Scout leader. At first I participated because I thought it was the right thing to do; to "give back" as one often hears. But what happened was the opposite. By getting involved, by volunteering where I thought I could, by giving a little time or sometimes what turned into a lot of time, it's the community that ultimately did the "giving back."

Pepperell is a large town and one that, like all growing towns, is struggling to retain a small-town feel. It is by citizens and townspeople getting involve with the community, and getting involved with each other, our friends and neighbors, that we keep that sense of community. It is by leaving municipal government and community activity planning to the "they" that we lose it.

There are a number of great organizations in Pepperell -- the Friends of the Lawrence Library, the Friends of Pepperell Recreation, the 4th of July Community, the Pepperell Business Association, PACH, and the Nashoba Conservation Trust, to name just a few -- that would benefit from a little assistance or a new idea every now and then. I urge you participate in the process with what you can, to build a relationship, to understand the issues, and to get involved. If you help make the community, the community will give back to you. It did to me.

Jeffrey Sauer

Pepperell Town Clerk