President's Letter

Original article appears in GuideStar May, 2017.

by Rene Scandone Gedaly

I was marveling at the very personal email responses from members who either rejoined or bade farewell to HAS when I came across an article by New York Times columnist David Brooks. Brooks wrote about two types of organizations, thick ones and thin, sparked by his memories of working a summer camp some thirty years ago alongside the recently fallen firefighter in Watertown. Yes, he was remembering the firefighter but also the organization that had molded them both.

MoonLightingDarkSite.PNGThere are two types of organizations, wrote Brooks. Thin organizations “look to take advantage of people’s strengths and treat people as resources to be marshaled.” Thick ones, by contrast, inspire us to give of our best selves and leave a lasting mark on our fellows. 

That same morning, as it happens, a photo of the moon lighting the dark site through the morning fog was shared on Netslyder; it inspired much admiration and discussion. Looking through the photographer’s online catalog of observatories in various stages of construction, a member was inspired to call it a record of “HAS City.”

To me the photo communicates the soul of what it means to be an amateur astronomer, to defiantly brave the weather and nevertheless put down roots in the knowledge that better conditions may come the very next night. Or the next. And it reminds me that HAS is indeed one of those thick organizations. HAS—and the people in it—have left their mark and will be well remembered another thirty years hence. 

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