To The Editor:

As our Washington in Bloom T-shirts say, “We’re Bloomin’ in Wash. MO”!

Washington certainly made a very strong showing for the visit by the national America in Bloom judges, Katy Moss-Warner and Melanie Menachem-Riggs. They were genuinely impressed with our beautiful city and the strength of its community involvement.

I’m writing this letter as a heartfelt thank you to all of the wonderful people and the roles they have played in moving Washington forward. This includes everyone currently involved in the inner-workings of our participation, the financial backers, service organizations and those dear friends who did the work of a veritable army.

Hat’s off to our founders, who saw the beauty, resources and potential in this lovely site along the river, and each generation who followed ensuring that Washington remained a strong and healthy community. Hundreds of people left us this beautiful legacy which we vigorously strive to maintain and build upon.

Like the little wave petunia . . . perceptive business people, homeowners, service organizations have seen what happiness, exhilaration and pride occurs by planting a single tree, cleaning up one site, or placing a planter to warmly greet customers.

Another positive observation is Washingtonians are inspiring each other! One site being spruced up can lead to adjoining properties following suit. Thus, offering that same lovely visual to local residents passing by, as well as our many visitors.

As more and more people are learning the value of our AIB participation, it should be noted that our support base has broadened significantly! Kudos to Washington Garden Club, Franklin County Master Gardeners, Washington Historical Society, the city of Washington, Downtown Washington, Inc., the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce, City Council, Park Board, Urban Forestry Commission, WHS FFA members, the Fair Queen candidates, PEO members, Hillermann Nursery and numerous others.

I must applaud the talents and dedication of my Co-Chair Dave Wehmeyer, Mayor Sandy Lucy, fellow Steering Committee members, Darren Dunkle, John Steffens and Jill Straatmann, all of whom played such an integral role in the success of Washington in Bloom. I am grateful to my husband, Paul Bocklage, Tessie Steffens, Wanda Rogers-Larson, Donna Forsse and Cindy Frankenberg for their support and assistance.

We wish to thank those kind and knowledgeable people who took time away from their already busy schedules to speak to Katy and Melanie, our national AIB judges. Their expertise was so valuable in representing Washington with accurate dates, statistics, city ordinances, codes and procedures as well as details of local projects and improvements.

Many individuals and entities worked so well in concert with one another providing a network of support for the program, its objectives and our project goals.

We sincerely thank the Washington Missourian staff reporters and photographers for their excellent coverage.

So . . . Keep on Bloomin’, Washington! It is an important “mission” that encompasses many months before and after the arrival of the national judges.