Today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant happens to be a new friend I made this year. His name is Christopher Carpenter. He wasn’t born in Amsterdam but I’m glad he decided to make this place his home. Why? Because he cares about other people and he gets involved in things that help improve the quality of life in this City. When that kind of person joins your community, it’s what I call a “community win”!
I met him initially through politics. When I decided to run for Mayor this spring Chris was one of the local Democratic Party Committee members who went out and got petition signatures for me. I had heard his name before and had actually wanted to meet him ever since he organized the stirring memorial tribute on the MVGO Bridge for the folks killed in the tragic limousine crash in Schoharie.
He’s the kind of person you like instantly. He has a great sense of humor, a wide range of interests, he stays current on the news of the day and he is a wonderful conversationalist. He is also passionate about politics but he’s one of the folks who has come to realize that talking about differences is much more effective than attacking each other over them. And he writes amazing prose too.
The biggest love of his life is his beautiful thirteen-year-old daughter Emmalee! Just the mention of her name makes him light up like a Christmas tree. I’d known him for months before I found out he had a chronic illness that kept him in constant physical pain or that he suffered through years of personal struggles.
That’s because every time we’re together he has a smile on his face and he’s busy doing something for someone else. He spends his Tuesday’s volunteering at the Amen Soup Kitchen and this summer he became a member of the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation’s Board of Advisors and the positive impact he made was both immediate and much appreciated.
So if you see this tall, good-looking guy with arms full of ink at the ItaliaFest this weekend, wish him a Happy Birthday. By the way, Chris is starting a brand new Facebook page for people who live in Amsterdam. He’s calling it “Family and Friends of Amsterdam NY” and he wants it to be a place where we can discuss our great city, share stories, talk about events, our schools and promote local businesses. All he asks is that you treat each other with respect and dignity. I know I’m looking forward to joining and hope you do as well.