Berlin Community Showing Its ‘Heart’

Berlin Community Showing Its ‘Heart’

While aesthetically pleasing, the true beauty of the murals on the basketball courts in Berlin’s Henry Park is symbolic. The colorful mural represents the completion of a major grassroots effort rooted in a passionate desire to make Berlin better.

We Heart Berlin nonprofit founder Tony Weeg and his team deserve a tremendous amount of the credit, as do the donors and volunteers who made this overhaul possible. It’s all about the connections that will be made on this court and how it represents progress and innovation.

During most of the speeches during the Love Day ceremony, several backs were turned from the speakers. There seemed to be a concerted effort to listen to the words and sentiments expressed, but also witness them in action. The speeches – some of whom were touching for their sincerity — were all well and good, but they are just words. Proof of their accuracy and application could be found on the basketball courts while the officials were speaking. Hundreds of school-aged kids – 90% of which were Black – were laughing and joking around while shooting hoops on the beautiful new court. The comradery and the stiff wind made for some special moments.

The reality is some of the elected officials were completely unaware about this project’s meaning. At least two officials admitted it was their first time at the park, so their words were puffery. The best messaging came from those who were involved in the project along the way. The meaningful words came the volunteers who spearheaded this initiative.

We Heart Berlin group’s campaign was amazing. It’s hard to believe this group is less than a year old, but the achievements are significant already. To raise more than $35,000 in a few months and to put these dollars to work to affect a positive change confirms what can be done when the right idea merges with timeliness, passion, creativity and charitable giving.

Atlantic General Hospitals 28th Annual Penguin Swim

There was life at the park this week, not just during last Sunday’s Love Day event. It’s going to help connect the sides of Berlin in time, but in the short term this project serves as confirmation on what is possible through a partnership of diverse interest.

In his comments, Weeg got some laughs when he joked one of the best things to happen to him was his election loss last year. It’s truly been a positive for Berlin overall because working in the community in this grassroots fashion suits Weeg and his connections best. This passion is easily visible and on display for all driving south along Route 113 any day of the week.

Last Sunday was a bright day for all of Berlin literally and figuratively. It provided an opportunity to reflect on the pride we should all feel for the historic town, no matter a born and raised native or a newcomer.

About The Author: Steven Green

Alternative Text

The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.