Spreading Positivity

In a world riddled with negative news, “I Love Rutland” dares to reinforce and attract the positive.

Professional photographer Donna GoodHale, from Expressions By Donna, along with Mike Napolitano, owner of Awesome Graphics, and Steve Costello, of Green Mountain Power, teamed up to interview and photograph total strangers and create an “I Love Rutland” campaign. The goal was to give the people of Rutland a chance to spread the love through storytelling.

“I feel that Rutland is a little city with a big heart. With all the negatives people focus on in the world, its nice to focus on something positive” said GoodHale.

The criteria for picking folks to interview is specific: Someone out and about in the city of Rutland who wants to share why they love Rutland.

“We’ve heard a thousand times from the mayor all the positive things about Rutland, let’s hear it from everyday people of Rutland,” GoodHale said.

After each interview her husband Bradley GoodHale transcribes the interview and she develops the template to be posted online. Posts are shared on the “I Love Rutland, Vermont” Facebook page, as well as the “I Love Rutland Vt” website.

“Everybody lives in one little community, yet it means something different to everyone,” said Donna.

Stories vary from love stories to stories about plumbing, but they have one thing in common — the storytellers love Rutland, Vermont.

“I came to Rutland because I fell in love with a girl, then I fell in love with the city,” said Brad GoodHale. “I enjoy that I can be serenaded by the many sounds of the city… my personal favorite is the ten-of-nine whistle. I love that the whistle harkens back to the days when it was a reminder that you had 10 minutes to get home before curfew.”

Lynn Wilson said, “First and Foremost, the people of Rutland are really accepting and generally happy. We have some problems, but we are Rutland — we’ve always figured it out.”

And of course, some stories will surely make you cry. One story features a woman named Summer Stoutes who donated her kidney to Brent Garrow, whom she had never even met.

“Rutland is a place where people care” said Cheryl Hooker.

Shedding some light on the positive experiences shared by Rutlanders reinforces the community feel and reminds readers how positively important it is to spread positivity.

GoodHale hopes to eventually create a book with all the different photographs, much like the Humans of New York books. The photography element is Donna’s favorite part, because it “puts a human face to these stories.”

Positivity is contagious, and the founders of the “I Love Rutland” campaign plan on engaging the entire community.


By Lily Spechler, Correspondent for the Rutland Reader

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