“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”― Eleanor Roosevelt
I left the safety of my family and home this week for the first time in days. The list of destinations is typically short: Martins, Costco, the Landfill. I broke this routine to head to our office building at 27 West Boscawen Street. Adjacent to the Walking Mall, it’s centrally located in the heart of Old Town. My objective was simple: Hang our Apple Blossom Flags.
As I peered out of my second-floor office window, I noticed pink and white flowers in full bloom. A subtle reminder our city’s premier event would ordinarily be days away. But times aren’t ordinary. This year they elicit only memories. The ritual of hanging flags outside our building gave me time to reflect.
Our building has seen a great deal since its creation in 1891. Horse-drawn carriages traversed water-filled streets outside my window during the Flood of 1906. There’s no flood today but the streets are equally as quiet. Despite this, the building and our city remained strong.
The first World War forever changed the landscape of our country. This harrowing time eventually gave way to women’s suffrage, the Roaring Twenties, and our community’s first Apple Blossom in 1924. This building and our city remained strong.
World War II was the last time our celebration was put on hold. When the world came together to push back a common enemy. Despite all this, the building and our city remained strong.
I set the last flag in place and realized buildings, flags, and celebrations collectively represent our community and the people that live here. They’re the spirit of our city.
I left Winchester after graduating Handley but returned years ago because of the value I placed in the relationships I made growing up here. Personally, I first stepped foot in our building at the onset of the 2008 financial crisis. My business partner, Jeremy, took a similar path before he and his family chose to return to the area. The two of us recently launched a new investment management business in the city we hold dear. We’re proud to call Winchester home.
The challenge we face as a nation is unique, but not new. Many of our friends and neighbors face very real health and economic hardships at a time that our streets should be filled with laughter and music. Leaving all of us with more questions than answers. However, we believe our connection, resolve, and innovation will light a path forward. Our city, and community, will be stronger than ever.
Please join our fundraiser for Blue Ridge Hospice and the Sinclair Health Clinic to assist the front liners in our city putting their lives at risk every day. All contributions are greatly appreciated and go toward needed supplies to help these organizations combat COVID-19.
Jeff Hahn & Jeremy Nichols