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Paying It Forward

It’s La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association’s busiest time when every one of us is in top form. Now becomes clear the symphony it takes to put on this performance, from original concept to final deco, with a lot in between.
It’s also the time of year when we get asked two questions:
1) Oh, are you already working on the float for this year? (Hint: we started Jan. 7.)
2) Awesome project … seems like a lot of work, why do you do it?
This second question is a more personal response depending upon the individual queried. Not presuming to know what other’s responses may be, I offer herewith my personal elaboration.
I have been engaged in this “building of a float” for more than two decades, while watching, learning, experimenting, fixing, creating, building, brainstorming, collaborating, teaching, spreading the word, engaging our upcoming generation, building community, analyzing, problem solving, inventing, pushing boundaries. The answer to the “why” is in one word: Service.
Service is, for me, a responsibility. It’s an honor to serve this organization and it’s an honor to serve — and hopefully be a mentor and role model to our community. It is paying forward the gifts, skills and values that others imparted upon me when I was kid riding a bike. A bike that someone taught me to fix when it broke. A skill that allowed me to be a bike mechanic in junior high. A job that taught me the bike and moped service business, in a locally owned shop that I eventually bought and put myself through college with. All because some kind soul in the neighborhood took the time to teach me how to fix a flat and weld a broken frame. The creative sparks were ignited and I am still going; and paying forward the greatest gift I ever received. Thanks, Mr. McKinnon.
Come help, learn and teach while building “Flower Power 2024.”

Ernest Koeppen
President, LCFTRA
La Cañada Flintridge

First published in the October 26 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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