Douglas, you’re great! And this, coming from a native of Nogales, traditionally a prep sports archenemy. Faced relentlessly like Nogales by economic challenges and all the difficult nuances of life on the border, you all come together incredibly when there is a need.

You celebrate your community with pride. I loved my first Best of Douglas event last year, for example. Everyone cheered on as the winners were announced. There were no jeers of envy. It was an authentic show of support among local businesses all trying to morally boost each other to be successful. My fiancé Irene and I went from table to table meeting so many people who made us feel welcome and part of the community. One table of winners snuck in their own tequila and graciously offered us shots! That’s all Douglas, right there.

The way so many people and businesses gathered to support the Easter Egg Hunt was so inspiring! Few communities show up for local children like that. Copious amounts of gifted toys, treats and personalized gift baskets made for an event that will be engraved for years to come in all of those little brains and hearts as well as mine.

So when I dared to reach out to the community to help save the Dispatch, I anticipated a decent response. But I have been blown away by the show of support. Even many people who have moved away stay in touch with their home town and care about the paper. I recently spoke with former Mayor Danny Ortega, who has been assigned by APS to Casa Grande. He misses Douglas and appreciates the role that the Dispatch plays in helping build and maintain a sense of community. Countless people have called, emailed or walked into the office to pledge support.

We all saw the letter to the editor from Susan Mitterlehner from Sierra Vista, whose mother, the late Zana Lamb Priest, loved Douglas and liked to read her Dispatch. Susan not only donated to save local journalism in Douglas, she bought a digital subscription to the Dispatch. Alex De La Vara, now of Huntington Beach, Calif., also contributed. I called him and we instantly connected, talking about his favorite haunts and how he enjoys visiting the town to this day, especially the American Legion.

So far, as of Monday, approximately 185 people had signed up for print and/or digital subscriptions since we started our pledge drive in July. We are so close — about 40 subscribers shy of our goal of 225 subscribers by September 30.

If we continue to grow our paid audience and count on our retailers to support us on the advertising side of the equation, together we can save this 117 year old institution, the Douglas Dispatch.

(Coppola is publisher of the Douglas Dispatch.)

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