As word spread this week of the loss in the Harding family across the ocean, the friends and former neighbors of Thomas and Deb Harding gathered in what is a consistent reaction to any situation in Shepherdstown. A candlelight vigil was organized and held for Kadian before the British papers even released his name. Words of comfort were posted to travel the worldwide web and reach the mourning family.
The outpouring of love and support shown around the world epitomize the heart and soul of Shepherdstown. The community gathers together in good times and in bad, showing the reason why it is such an extraordinary place to live.
Despite internal differences, and there are some, when an tragedy or a joyous event occurs, neighbors and friends provide a shoulder to cry on or a voice raised in cheer to celebrate. Many times small neighborhoods show this type of connection but I believe it is a rare thing to have the connection flow throughout the entire town.
The residents here share each other's burdens and feel each other's joys and sorrows. Whether it be in celebration of the town charter, gathering to celebrate Easter or May Day or to cry at the loss of a beloved son, the folks here show their support and love for each other on a daily basis. Candles lit in memory of lost youth or signatures gathered on a petition to fight an uncalled for threat of legal action against a local coffee shop, the examples of what makes Shepherdstown residents special can be seen over and over again.
Kudos to all who have made and continue to make Shepherdstown what it is. The camaraderie of the tight-knit community is to be commended especially as arms are opened in welcome to those from elsewhere as well. It is a unique dynamic that makes up this little town.