Albion town candidate says community can enjoy a rebirth

Posted 28 October 2015 at 12:00 am


Throughout my adult life, I’ve mostly worked for non-profit organizations. As a teacher, hospital and college administrator, health center and animal shelter fundraiser and the like, the mission was to improve lives in the communities I served.

Almost 20 years ago, I stumbled upon many teachers and guides who encouraged me to work on my own issues, physical, emotional and spiritual. So began the path of my own healing work and eventually the founding of a healing center in Albion, Paradise Healing Arts.

My weekly column, Making Choices, some may recall, was published continuously for over 15 years across the northeast in many Free Community Papers like our own Lake Country Pennysaver. Over the years, thousands wrote to share how this column had helped them in some way. It was also a way I helped myself heal.

And next I embarked on becoming a licensed massage therapist. For 17 years now, the skills I have developed in this field through continuous training and practice have helped people of all ages in my community and far beyond to heal and become more vital in their lives.

Last, but certainly not least, I was challenged with a very difficult job as a single parent of a child who didn’t fit into any mold. Now a very intelligent and creative 32-year-old, he told me about 6 months ago, “Mom, thanks for staying in my life. If you hadn’t believed in me, always been there for me, when no one else was, I wouldn’t be so happy now.”

So what does any of this matter for a candidate running for town office? If I had not learned how to take care of my own physical, emotional and family matters, I could not devote creativity, time and energy to my community like it deserves and is in dire need of.

Albion deserves better. As a child, I remember a thriving, safe, enjoyable community; the smell of Hunt Foods processing tomatoes in the autumn, Lipton’s making soup for the whole country, Santa Claus School and Park where people came from around the world to learn and enjoy the magic, Bird’s Eye foods growing and shipping vegetables nationwide.

Main Street was full of retail shops, grocery stores, a movie theater, soda shops, shoe repair and newsstands, etc. Shopping on my bike for a three-dollar Mother’s Day gift was an adventure for a 7-year-old to be remembered forever.

If our neighboring town of Medina can be reborn, we can do it too! We can’t just imagine a thriving Main Street but more importantly, economic development and shared services that encourage sustainable growth; a place for our youth to come back to with their higher education or skills to make a difference.

Let’s work together, not complain together at local coffee venues, to make Albion better. Let’s clean up the landfill problem, the apathy, nepotism and misuse of our tax dollars and get to work. I have hundreds of people, young and old, across all political lines, who are on board with this way of thinking. Together we can do it!

Just as I have recreated my life and helped the lives of my clients and son, I can help recreate Albion to be economically, environmentally and socially vital once again. We can do it if you vote on Nov. 3 for Darlene Benton, Albion Town Board. Please vote. Your voice matters to Albion and the future of our children and community.

Darlene Benton