A thousand thanks

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By Roger Snodgrass

The credit roll for a typical feature film is several hundred names long.

Even a television documentary is often at least a hundred people or organizations. In fact the collaborative efforts and acts of generosity and kindness for a typical educational or cultural video can be so long that the credit roll, in order not to take up half the show, has to be accelerated to the point that thanks and credits whiz by in an unreadable blur.

There is almost never a power point at the national laboratory that doesn’t include a dozen names and sponsors.

When we write about a science project with a laboratory scientist, his or her first concern is often that the other participants and funders be mentioned in the story, an almost impossible request.

There is never enough thanks in the world, even though thanks probably pays for an equivalent of at least half the gross national product and maybe even more on a global scale. If love makes the world go round, millions of sincere expressions of gratitude surely keep it on its axis.

A while back, we had a weekly “Mil Gracias” page to handle the outpourings of appreciation that seems to abound in our community, but of course the gesture of recognition always means more to the recipient and contributor than to the spectator.

All of which is a round-about way of saying we always seem to have a lot of thanking to do at this newspaper and never so much as we have in recent times.

There is more than a linguistic connection between the root words for communication and community and we have almost stumbled upon some of the most valuable connections.

According to John Durham Peters, a historian of communications, the word comes from a Latin word, meaning to “impart, share, or make common.” The “mun” is related to words like “munificent,” “community” and “meaning.”

There could hardly be a more meaningful convergence of all these ideas than at the Monitor.

Last July, when our longtime photographer Gary Warren, resigned, we all knew he could never be replaced, but we didn’t realize at first that a cost-conscious job freeze would keep us from even trying.

With the onset of the recession, Warren’s vital function became one of the first casualties of the new reality of the news business in Los Alamos.

So maestro, if you will, a drum roll, please.

Since then, we have been immensely helped by what we call our “posse” of volunteer photographers, including Jennifer Bartram, Shari Mills, Jim O’Donnell and Skip Wecksung. Bernadette Lauritzen not only takes photographs, but also writes stories and a column.

Former Monitor employees also stay involved. We still get great columns and an occasional story from Kelly Dolejsi, and photographs and stories from Katy Korkos and  Bonnie Gordon.

Our community pages are graced by stories from Mandy Marksteiner and Christel Hanson. Carol Meine at the library, Hedy Dunn, executive director of the Historical Society, Heather McClenahan, of the Los Alamos Historical Museum, Nancy Coombs of the Art Center at Fuller Lodge, Marlanne Hamilton, executive director of the Los Alamos Arts Council, Becky Shankland and Branden Willman Kozimor of PEEC.

For our sports pages, we have John McHale to thank for sports and other photography throughout the year, as well as Deborah Francisco, our summer sports intern; Jean Picard, Los Alamos Hilltopper hockey writer, and Ted and Joan Williams and the Atomic City Roadrunners for photos, stories and other items throughout the year.

Along with the members of PEEC, John Bartlit, LANL meteorologist Scot Johnson,the Sierra Club Pajarito Group and the incomparable John Pawlak all contribute regularly to our news or opinion pages. Christina Dey also helped us as a summer intern this year.

The problem with giving thanks is that it’s hard to know where to start and where to end.

With apologies for those who have gone unnamed this time around, we say, “A thousand thanks.”

We really know what its like to live and work in a community that communicates.