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Billboard encourages thankfulness in Orleans

Photo by Tom Rivers: This billboard on Route 98, on the northern edge of the Village of Albion, went up last week. The spot often has had billboards promoting alcohol.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 September 2019 at 4:45 pm

ALBION – Beth Giordano would drive by the billboard on Route 98, at the village’s north line, and would be upset at the typical message being prominently displayed, celebrating alcohol.

The billboard is next to the Oak Orchard Estates mobile home park and is on one of the county’s busiest thoroughfares. Giordano knew many kids and local residents were seeing the sign promoting alcohol.

“Week after week I saw the beer ads up there and it breaks my heart because the kids see it,” she said. “The school buses go by it, and it’s right next to the Albion sign that says, ‘A Great Place to Live.’”

Giordano wanted to send a different message with the billboard. She and her husband John decided to rent the billboard with a thankfulness message for 12 months. The first one went up last week. It proclaims a community challenge, asking people to “show the world who or what YOU are thankful for.” They are encouraged to post their responses on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at #ThankfulinOrleans.

“I know they are thinking about thankfulness every time they go by there,” Giordano said today.

She and her husband have lived in Point Breeze for more than 20 years. They have owned a building in downtown Albion since 2007 at 25-27 East Bank St.

They have run youth centers in the community.

“I have a huge heart for Albion, for the children and families,” said Giordano, who works a Christian counselor. “I know alcohol itself can be very damaging to teen-agers and their families.”

The East Bank Street location will be the base of the new ministry or community care center called “Rise Above.” Giordano wants to help girls and women rise above depression, anxiety and other challenges in their lives.

With the billboard, she will open up the display to other community organizations, and will keep with a thankfulness theme. The Giordanos have reserved it for 12 months, but won’t have it for December because that month was already taken.

“Our goal is to put more encouraging things on it,” she said.

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