In Gratitude


By Robyn M. Perrin

Thanksgiving in its essence is such an introspective gift of a holiday – a chance to give voice to gratitude.

We at Focal Flame Photography have had so much to be grateful for since our founding. But as a small, locally-owned business, one of the most brilliant benefits of this entire journey has been the ongoing opportunity to witness the character, the antics, and the strength of members of our local community – the Madison, Wisconsin region and surrounding areas.

Take this season, for example. The majority of Focal Flame Photography’s work is in sports photography, and we’ve covered over 21,000 athletes at 23 events and custom photo shoots in 2012. Here are some of the things we’ve noticed:

We’ve seen families and friends cheer on an athlete with such intensity that you could almost feel them pour their own raw willpower into a seemingly impossible task. We’ve seen training partners crossing finish lines together while holding hands and jumping for joy. We’ve seen parents competing alongside their kids; impossible to tell which party wore the broader smile. We’ve seenkids running with their friends, co-workers laughing hysterically as they splashed their way over obstacles and through mud pits, and more than one wedding party that completed an entire triathlon together.

If you’ve become too world-weary watching news headlines about animosity and strife, come out to a local bike trail, or 5K race, or dog jog, or mud run. We’ll show you just how much friendship and love there is in our community.

Work the craft long enough, and you start to see other patterns too. Many of the events we serve benefit local nonprofits or are run by nonprofits. Several of these entities are growing and thriving. The Boys and Girls Club of Dane County (beneficiary of the Madison Shamrock Shuffle) has served 700 children this year (62% increase over 2011) in its summer camp programs for at-risk youth, and 90% of the students in the 2012 class of its AVID/TOPS pre-college program are now enrolled in college. The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, which has long been an effective statewide advocacy organization to promote cycling as a form of transportation is launching its first local chapter in Dane County. Girls On The Run Dane County now offers its 10-week program for girls in over 30 schools, reaching hundreds of students with an empowering, inspiring program. And these are just a few of the stories.

If you have any concerns about the level of compassion within our community, let us show you just how deeply it runs through Madison’s veins.

Today, we give voice to gratitude. We stand in awe of you, of your stories, of your commitment. We celebrate it and honor it, because together – hand in hand - each of you makes our community whole.

Thank you.