With the holidays approaching, it’s appropriate for the Chestnut Hill community to reflect on everything that’s great about our community – our neighbors, our shopkeepers, our volunteers, our generosity, our thoughtfulness, our kindness, etc.

Last Wednesday I experienced one of those moments of gratitude. I awoke to a radio announcement that a city firefighter had lost her life during the night attempting a rescue from a burning house. Joyce Craig was married, a mother of two children and the city’s first female firefighter killed in the line of duty. It was a tragedy. She will be remembered by so many for her bravery.

That evening I had another such moment as I listened to 14th Police District Captain John Fleming and his officers during the annual ”state of the community” informational meeting at Norwood-Fontbonne Academy. The group included a detective, an undercover officer and officers permanently assigned to Chestnut Hill with a deep, impressive knowledge of both our commercial and residential area activities.

From the police that patrol the Wissahickon on dirt bikes, the mounted police, undercover officers in unmarked cars to several full-time officers continually on patrol, the result is that our community is extremely safe and secure.

As I sat there listening to the captain and his officers, I couldn’t help but feel how fortunate we are to live in Chestnut Hill with our safety continually protected. As I looked at these brave, enthusiastic officers dedicated to protecting us, full of life, my thoughts returned to the fallen firefighter and wondered how her family would be spending the holidays.

They are all such brave public servants! Yes, this is a time of reflection and gratitude.

On a closing note, the Holiday Parade on Saturday was lots of fun for all ages with excitement from the bands, antique cars, walking groups to the Venetian Club Comics – and, of course, Santa. A special thanks to former CHCA president, Brien Tilley and the many volunteers who made it possible.

Happy Holidays to all!

Will Detweiler

President, CHCA

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