September 3, 2020
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” – Aesop
|I met Felix Belmont when I was teenager. He was a recent retiree who moved to our town and got involved in starting our community radio station. Over the decades that he devoted himself to the station he raised thousands of dollars, hosted a music show, interviewed the County Commissioners every month, hosted a wildly popular call in show about financial management, and served on the governing board multiple times. In 2011, at 93 years old, he was honored by NFCB with the Volunteer of the Year Award and a whole group of people from my hometown were there to cheer him on as he knocked it out of the park with his moving speech.
Felix is 102 now and pretty much sharp as a tack. Last week he loaded up in the car with his daughter Louise to move to her place in Indiana. It was just time and we all knew it. People lined the main street to wave goodbye and smile through their masks. He had a police escort that stopped in front of the radio station building (which is named after him), so that well-wishers could honor him and intrepid reporters could collect the audio. As the caravan moved out toward the highway, our community choir was there to surround the car and sing “Auld Lang Syne,” “America the Beautiful,” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” There was hardly a dry eye, and as a member of the choir, I can tell you that “Auld Lang Syne” nearly did me in. The final salute was the flashing highway sign that proclaimed “We Love You Felix” as he rolled out of town.
I could write volumes about my many conversations and adventures with Felix over the 40 years I have known him but there isn’t time for that here. I simply wanted to paint the picture of an ordinary man who was kind and showed up for his community, and in his own way changed the world. He changed my world, he changed the community, he changed the station. I asked him many times what the station meant to him and he gave basically the same answer every time, “KVNF is family to me. They accept me for who I am and help me feel that I belong to something that matters.”
As the scope and complexity of the challenges we face unleash fear and trepidation, my hope is that we remember the transformative power of community radio and the friendship it amplifies and uplifts every single day across this country. There is simple beauty in that… even in the most complicated times.
Sally Kane, CEO, National Federation of Community Broadcasters
Community Radio for the Wood River Valley, Sun Valley, Idaho.
KDPI is a local non-profit community radio station. It is a broadcast platform for collective voice operated by volunteers in the community. We also serve as a platform for eclectic music, information, and education, providing a medium for the hundreds of non-profit organizations in our Wood River Valley.