What It Means to Be a Community

With winter fully upon us, I can’t help but reminisce about the storm that hit us three years ago. It was four days before Christmas when it blew through, covering the state and part of Canada in ice. For nearly two weeks, the streets were dark, and houses were cold as workers struggled to return power to Michigan. There is something eerie about a town completely shrouded in the darkness of night, but the storm itself allowed for a lot of really beautiful moments in my neighborhood.

When my wife and I remodeled our home, we decided to put in a generator, and when the state went dark, our lights stayed on, and our furnace kept us warm. For me, this was one of those moments in your life that defines who you are as a person. It’s like seeing someone broken down on the side of the road — was I going to help my neighbors and my community, or was I going to keep on driving and leave my doors closed? Nowadays, this is a potentially hazardous question; people are scared to help others because they don’t know the overall cost or investment. The unknown element of decision-making is what keeps a lot of people from truly enjoying their lives to the fullest, and for me, my decision was simple.

Every night, our neighborhood would join at my house, and we’d host a potluck. Each family would use our kitchen to prepare their food, to eat, to really warm their bones — it was a wonderful time, a time where I was really able to build a bond with my neighbors, where I really got to see it means to be a member of our community. Our local doctor even came and stored his medicine in our second fridge. The storm had sidelined an entire state, but for our community, it gave us an opportunity to share an incredible moment — to really determine what it means to be a neighbor, to give back to those in need.

Being that the storm hit four days before Christmas, we were also fortunate enough to host our family’s Christmas that year. From grandkids to great-grandparents, every couch and bed was full, but it was more than just a sleepover. We’d stay up late playing games, cooking large meals, and sharing our fortune with the neighborhood. It reminded me a lot of my childhood. Growing up on a farm, that was just how it was. There was always room for one more at the table, we always shared what we had, and we never turned anyone away.

At Mattson Financial, there is always room for you at our table. When we installed our generator, we were preparing for our future, and everything that could possibly happen — it’s the same long-term planning available to you. From the height of a counter to an emergency generator, forward thinking is essential for the continued happiness of your future, and your family. This holiday season, focus on your family, and know that for every other Christmas to come, we are here for you.

– Gary Mattson