When I gave the opening speech at the Tamaqua Salvation Army groundbreaking ceremony for the new building, I emphasized the fact that the people who lived in Tamaqua the longest are the most cynical. I cautioned the crowd that cynicism is like a cancer on a community and that good people who care will stop if the majority is negative and cynical. That was 12 years ago, and here we are with the same glass half empty attitude.

No one thought we could raise enough money to build a Salvation Army center.

All the nay sayers said, "This town is dead and no one will give you a dime."

Well, we did raise $1.6 million dollars for this very important addition to the downtown. We did it entirely through the generosity of many people who live right here in Tamaqua.

The June 6, article in the Times News, which headlined the hellish response from a PSU opinion survey, made me sick. I lived out of the area for a few years after college and moved back to raise a family. I WOULD NOT LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE. I have seen schools, neighborhoods and, yes, the civic organizations in other communities. There is more happening in Tamaqua, in the way of community enrichment, than in most of the surrounding counties.

I see the dedication of hundreds of volunteers in our community that work everyday to make the community better. I see a school district that is the envy of our neighbors. I see a downtown that has become more and more beautiful each and every year. I see heritage festivals, parades and lighting ceremonies. Why don't the people who responded to that survey see these things? I see the lowest tax millage of any of our contiguous districts. I see five municipalities, consisting of West Penn Township, Schuylkill Township, Rush Township, Walker Township and Tamaqua Borough, who make up a wonderful mix of beauty, serenity and history. I see the local business people supporting the community by their monetary donations as well as their own personal time.

If Tamaqua is so horrible, why don't you find a better town to live in? I have the answer to that. It is because there is none. A community is what you make of it. If you say it is retched, then it is doomed to be. I thank God that there are people who live in OUR community who don't think like the survey respondents, but rather spend their energy and money and time to make Tamaqua the best it can be. I love this place, with all its faults, because I know other places have just as many or more. People in the Tamaqua area are spoiled. They have political stability in their school system, townships and in the Borough. There are no crazy San Francisco type nuts that are influencing our way of life. I have never changed my voter registration address and don't intend to.

For those respondents who have lived here an average of 38 years as the survey indicates, and truly believe Tamaqua is "Doomed", then why don't you do something about it? Get involved and volunteer.

Larry Wittig

Tamaqua