June 26, 2013 - To coincide with the town's Lone Ranger celebration, Oxford residents will be given an opportunity to win a genuine silver bullet just for doing good deeds and helping make their community a better place.
Oxford jeweler Mark A. Young measures a real .45-caliber bullet in preparation for creating a solid-silver replica. Photo by CJC. (click for larger version)
Between July 2 and Aug. 3, residents young and old can earn "silver certificates" by doing volunteer work for local nonprofit groups and performing good deeds for neighbors and strangers alike.
"I hope a lot of people do this," said Oxford resident Connie Miller, who's coordinating the contest. "There are so many different ways to volunteer in the community, so many simple things people can do to help others.
"I think the more people find out about things they can do, the more they will do. Getting involved with your friends and neighbors is very gratifying and it's a lot of fun."
Miller said "there is no limit" to how many certificates a person can collect. "You can spend the next month gathering as many you can."
People will then bring their silver certificates to the Celebrate Lone Ranger festival in downtown Oxford on Saturday, Aug. 3.
All of them will be placed in a large bin in Centennial Park and one individual's name will be drawn at random.
This lucky person will win a solid-silver .45-caliber bullet hand-crafted by local jeweler Mark A. Young.
"Just like the Lone Ranger, the silver bullet prize will be one of a kind," Miller said. "I want to thank Mr. Young for donating all the labor and materials necessary to create this unique prize."
"There's always somebodywho's going to make a little bit more of a contribution to the community than I'm able to and they should be recognized," Young said. "I thought it was important that I share in that."
The Lone Ranger character, who was portrayed on the radio by Oxford resident Brace Beemer from 1941-54, used silver bullets as his famous calling card.
The precious metal symbolized everything the Lone Ranger stood for – justice, law and order. It also served as a reminder that life, like silver, has value and should not be wasted.
"We have a lot of people that do a lot of good in Oxford," Young said. "The purity of the silver symbolizes that spirit and the philosophy of the Lone Ranger. There's a lot of people that carry that forward on a daily basis."
Folks can win silver certificates by volunteering their time and effort on behalf of the K-Stray Rescue League, American Legion Post 108, Oxford-Orion FISH, Oxford Township, Oxford Township Parks & Recreation, Oxford-Addison Youth Assistance and the Free Meals programs at Oxford United Methodist Church, Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ and Christ the King Church.
"All you have to do is make a phone call to these various groups and ask, 'What can I do?' Miller said. "You could do a newspaper drive for the K-9 Stray Rescue League. You could collect bottles and cans to raise money to help buy fresh foods and produce for the Free Meals program in Oxford.
"You could help with setup, serving and cleanup at the weekly fish frys at American Legion Post 108. Oxford-Addison Youth Assistance has a community garden and they're always in need of people to help water and weed it."
"I think a lot of people in town would like to do these things, but they don't know where these opportunities are," she added.
Miller noted there will also be a "mystery spotter" watching for people committing random acts of kindness such as helping senior citizens load groceries into their cars, opening doors for people, picking up litter, giving someone directions, etc.
"Those are nice things that should be recognized," she said. "You just never know when somebody will do something nice. You never know when the opportunity to help someone will arise."
If a person spots someone doing something nice for others, they are encouraged to e-mail that individual's name and contact information to Miller via SilverBulletGoodDeeds@gmail.com.
"That person's name will be put into the drawing," Miller said. "You just may be caught in the act of doing something nice and get recognized for it."
Although the prospect of owning a solid-silver bullet is exciting, Miller said to her, the contest is "not really about winning the prize."
"It's about finding out how you can do things to help others within the community," she said. "Everyone who participates and everyone who benefits will be the real winners.
"A silver bullet is nice, but going out into the community, meeting new people, doing nice things – to me, that's really the prize. This is about doing something because it's the right thing to do. I would really like to see that spirit continue long past the Lone Ranger celebration. It's our kindness to one another that makes life better for all of us."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.