THERE ARE FINE PEOPLE in every city and town across America who immerse themselves in their communities for the greater good, and after they depart this Earth, what they leave behind continues to bear fruit.
It doesn’t matter how we all forge ahead —through natural disasters, wars, tragic personal events or even this strange coronavirus pandemic, we try to get through it. We still have to shop for groceries, mow our lawns, pay our property taxes, etc. Sometimes, life is easier, but many times it is not.
Robert Frost offered this wisdom at his 80th birthday celebration. A journalist asked him about the most important thing he had learned during “all his years and all his travels:”
“In three words I can sum up everything that I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”
And New Hampshire’s favorite poet was right.
Take, for example, Don Gross. I know that he must be looking down at 52 Ash St. and smiling.
In 1989, Capt. Gross (his rank at the time) co-founded the Nashua Police Athletic League (PAL). He, Gwen Krailo and several other proud residents believed that our community would benefit by establishing a city chapter for police to bond with children here in the Gate City.
I had recently started an FM radio news beat and enjoyed covering the city’s happenings. Raymond Landry was at the helm as Nashua’s chief of police at the time, and Capt. Gross asked me if I would like to join PAL’s Board of Directors. I did without hesitation, and it was an honor.
Investing in our city’s young people proved to be a wise move as Nashua PAL quickly became a popular outlet for children and teens. Today, the organization has branched out, serving more than 2,000 area youths with programs like PAL FORCE Football and Spirit, boxing, street hockey, PAL Explorers, tutoring, computer learning and more.
Sadly, we lost Don Gross in 2016. He retired as police chief in 2004 and was residing in Andover, N.H. I’m sure he’d be amazed at what Nashua PAL has achieved.
Today, the PAL facility at Youth Safe Haven, at 52 Ash St., is undergoing a $1 million renovation. Thank you to the Building on Hope nonprofit organization for selecting Nashua PAL as the lucky recipient of this major and awesome revamping.
Years ago, I attended the former Church of the Annunciation at 50 Ash St. The building next door (52 Ash) was our church’s reception hall and where I sat for Sunday School classes and Greek School classes.
Now it’s PAL’s special place, where kids can be themselves and dream big for their future.
Joan Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.