Congratulations — and thanks — Martha’s Vineyard! In less than a years time we successfully achieved our goal: placing benches on public trails across the Island so that walkers challenged by the wear and tear of age could enjoy the beauty of this place.

The Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation adopted the project I suggested without a moment’s hesitation. Executive director Adam Moore asked me to chair the action committee and I quickly recruited three Islanders who jumped to work immediately. Thank you Barbara Silk, Cynthia Bloomquist and Thaw Malin 3rd.

The action committee got to work getting the word out. Doctors offices, massage therapists, physical therapists, Island health clubs, fitness trainers and chiropractors were gracious and let us post handouts in their waiting areas. Thank you.

There were large donors — like the Tower Foundation — and our personal friends who quickly wrote checks and then strangers who sent along donations. Thank you all for your support.

And then the project got really hands on. Doug Ruskin designed and built the prototype bench now at the Carolyn Tuthill Preserve. Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School students and Island woodworkers donated their time and talent to create additional benches. Thank you.

And with the success of the fundraising campaign — we raised $30,000 — we were also able to purchase 70 teak benches. Those 70 cartons were delivered to the state forest garage and a Saturday morning 35 Islanders — bringing their own Phillips screw drivers — gathered for an assembly party. To everyone who lent a hand that Saturday morning, thank you.

Finally, on Saturday, June 1 (National Trails Day) we ceremoniously placed the last of 80 benches created by the Take a Break campaign. Trails along the properties of Sheriff’s Meadow, the state forest, Trustees of Reservations and at Felix Neck have all received gifts of these benches.

The success of the Take a Break campaign is what you can do when an idea makes people smile, nod their heads and say, “yeah — that is what we need to do.” I hope that as more and more Island hikers take a break on one of these benches they just say out loud — or to themselves, what is the next thing that needs to get done?

Together here on Martha’s Vineyard we can get it done.

Susan L. Silk

West Tisbury