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Holiday tale hits close to home

’Tis the season for Frank Capra’s holiday staple “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

The movie, which ranked in the top 10 in several of the American Film Institute’s “best of” lists, tells the story of George Bailey of Bedford Falls, New York. It’s 1945 and Bailey is contemplating suicide after a mishap by his absent-minded uncle puts their savings and loan in jeopardy and he now faces criminal charges.

After being told by the town’s villain and slumlord, Mr. Potter, that he is worth more dead than alive, Bailey takes out his frustrations on his family, heads to a bar, gets drunk and in a fight before seriously contemplating ending his life.

Fortunately, his guardian angel, Clarence, is on the scene and jumps in the river causing Bailey to save him instead. When Clarence tells Bailey that he is his guardian angel, Bailey doesn’t believe him.

During their conversation, Bailey wishes he had never been born and Clarence grants his wish. He returns to town and sees that it is a vastly different place, not realizing the impact the small things he has done during his lifetime has had on the community.

When he sees the changes, Bailey is convinced that Clarence is his guardian angel and begs for his life back.

The film ends as the town’s people, including those whose lives were changed by Bailey, rally around him to rescue the savings and loan.

The movie’s message is one of hope, showing how little actions can have big ripples on other people’s lives and a community. It also showcases the best things about living in a small town.

Boulder City is much like Bedford Falls. It’s one of the reasons people fight so hard to preserve the small-town feel.

Locals take the time to get to know each other. They stop to chat and catch up on life happenings. They support and promote area businesses. They look out for one another when they see something suspicious. And when times get tough, they rally to help each other.

Consider the number of nonprofit organizations in town — groups like Emergency Aid of Boulder City, which provides food and assistance for those in need; Lend A Hand of Boulder City, which aids seniors and disabled people and helps them remain independent in their homes for as long as possible; and See Spot Run, which makes sure there is a place for the town’s four-legged citizens to play safely.

If there was ever a doubt about the good work people do to help their neighbors, all you have to do is head over to Boulder Dam Credit Union on any Friday and you will find at least one group out front holding a bake sale or gathering donations to help others.

There are also groups such as the Community Club of Boulder City. It holds one function a year — the Doodlebug craft bazaar — and then spends the remainder of the months learning about the good works of other nonprofits and organizations in town and gives them funds so they can continue their efforts.

I am fortunate to be part of an informal group of local women who gather monthly to support each other in whatever they do. These women provide friendship, encouragement and inspiration for others to follow their dreams. It’s done in a festive atmosphere over a meal and glass or two of wine (or favorite beverage), as we learn about what we can do to help, laughing and having a good time along the way.

The group started as just a few friends, but the fun, camaraderie and support for each other was so impactful, new friends were continually invited to join and now the gathering has outgrown several meeting spots.

This past Monday we celebrated the holidays with each other. There were hugs all around, love and laughter as we exchanged small gifts and spoke about upcoming activities where our girlfriends would be needed.

Indeed, it is a wonderful life.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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