When I moved to Hanford a year and a half ago, it was a major shock to me. You see, I had been living in Houston Texas for about 30 years. I had become accustomed to hour long commutes in stop and crawl fashion, highway construction everywhere. Even going to the store around the corner was at least 15minutes away. But here in Hanford, everywhere was only 5 to 10 minutes away. Five Minutes.

But the thing that caught my attention even more than that was the way the people here treat each other, kindly, respectfully, politely. Hanford still has this small-town charm about it that makes a person feel good inside. People greet each other, even though they may not know the other person. When I look around town, it is kept clean and well cared for. The people of Hanford are proud of this pretty little town. And most of all, Hanford is a great place to raise a family.

There are some people who lived their entire lives here who have the sense that Hanford is losing that small-town feel. They remember this town when the population was only 15 thousand people instead of the almost 55 thousand people who now call Hanford Home. They remember a time when they could all recognize the children of their former classmates. Everywhere they went, there was someone that they knew. Now, not so much. The pace of life was slower then as well. People would spend time relaxing on their porch watching the grass grow. Life was Good.

As a newcomer to this beautiful town, I still see the virtues of a small town. I can see that some of its old charm has begun to fade. It seems that when new people move to Hanford for just the reasons I've pointed out, they bring with them the ways of the city they came from. But they can learn. By watching how the natives of this town behave.

This past week I was the victim of a hit and run car collision. One of the people who witnessed the incident tried to follow the other car in order to get the license plate number. She only got part of it, but then she returned to the site of the collision to give her report to the policeman who had stopped while on his way home. He stayed with me until my friend Tony showed up. You might get lucky like this in a big town … but then again.

I believe the small-town feeling is still here. We need to keep that spirit alive. Take time to greet the newcomers to our fair town, and show them what Hanford is all about … People caring for each other.

Jeffrey Porterfield is the owner of the Small Biz Center in downtown Hanford. 

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