Celebrate Nashua: Yvonne Dunetz’s ‘labor of love’ debuts on YouTube

Assigned the task of taking stock of all that Nashua has to offer, then sorting out the results and compiling everything into an informative production, even the most ardent researcher would likely break out in a cold sweat.

But for longtime Nashua resident Yvonne Dunetz, a holistic healer who produces and hosts The Health View, a health and well-being focused program on local access TV, taking on that very project became what she calls a “labor of love” as soon as she floated the idea.

“As I was doing the shows, I came to realize Nashua doesn’t really have a comprehensive history that … weaves together the beautiful and amazing stories of who we were, who we’ve become and who we wish to be,” Dunetz said, in part in an interview and in part in her introduction to the video.

Thus were planted the seeds for what would bloom into “Celebrate Nashua,” a straightforward, uncluttered title that lets its contents speak to the viewer.

The video, 1 hour, 18 minutes in length, is about to be launched on YouTube, and the link has been making its way onto various Websites in the meantime.

Perhaps Dunetz’s biggest challenge was covering all the proverbial bases while keeping the production to a reasonable length.

“I wanted to find the right mixture … to have community leaders discuss” their area of expertise and what their particular committee, board, organization or department brings to the table, she said.

More than 20 interviews are represented in the video, interspersed with footage and still photos of city landmarks.

The viewer is greeted by footage captured by a drone gliding over recognizable Nashua sites like the Millyard and the downtown area, and follows stretches of the the Broad Street Parkway and the Nashua River as it meanders under the Cotton Mill footbridge. The background piano music is at once upbeat and soothing.

Along with “celebrate,” the viewer watches a common theme begin to develop, that of “community” and “together,” such as “we journey together in making Nashua the very best place to live, work and play.”

“I want people to know Nashua is made up of so many of us,” Dunetz said, referring to the city’s population diversity.

To that end, she began a list of potential interviewees who would come to The Health View studios and record a segment on their area of expertise.

Among those represented would be police, fire, medical and other first-responders, along with community development, economic development and public health services leaders, Great American Downtown executive director Paul Shea, Chamber of Commerce CEO Tracy Hall, Superintendent of Schools Jahmal Mosley, emergency managment director Justin Kates and special appearances by former community development director Kathy Hersh and former city alderman Fred Teeboom, who each expounded upon a pair of pet projects that happen to be next-door neighbors.

Hersh recalled the process behind the development of Rotary Common, a passive recreation park that the Rotary Club of Nashua built on an historic parcel of land along Salmon Brook where the Labombarde family’s former International Paper Box Machine Co. operated for decades.

You’ll find quite interesting the story behind the parcel, as told by Hersh in the video — especially how the land ended up in the collective hands of the Rotary Club.

Longtime Rotarian Jack Tulley recorded an on-site interview explaining that process, which, he said, began when the Nashua club adopted a “park project” in response to Rotary International’s directive that all clubs worldwide undertake some type of significant community project to be unveiled upon the organization’s 100th anniversary.

Dunetz said she got the idea to install the park’s labyrinth while visiting the elaborate labyrinth in San Francisco. An accompanying reflection garden was also created, allowing visitors to experience both at the same time.

Just a few steps away is the New Hampshire Holocaust Memorial, a project Teeboom — a native of the Netherlands whose family narrowly escaped Nazi capture when he was a child — launched and successfully saw through to completion.

Teeboom, in the video, recalls that history, while also describing how the memorial came to be and the significance of its various elements.

Back at Rotary Common, the video dedicates a segment to the story behind The Gallery at the Wall, for which volunteers, led by Dunetz and Yusuf Abudi, raised funds several years ago to rejuvenate a deteriorating retaining wall along the park’s northern border.

Initially referred to as The Wall at Rotary Common, its new name reflects its new life as an outdoor art gallery.

The video’s most compelling segment begins roughly three minutes in, when a spot of aerial footage fades and the lights come up on the late Brian McCarthy, the longtime city alderman and board president who passed unexpectedly on Nov. 5 — just 10 days after he recorded the segment.

In searching for the ideal person to narrate the overview, Dunetz knew it would have to be someone with encyclopedic recall whose knowledge of all things Nashua ran deep into the details.

He or she would be tasked with blending just the right amount of Nashua history, tracing its metamorphosis from a rural, agricultural town to a bustling industrial center where immigrants and American-born folks worked side by side producing textile products by the millions, then following along into Nashua’s mid-20th-century reinvention as an up-and-coming technology center that laid the foundation for the high-tech expansion that continues today.

“Brian knew about this project, he thought it was wonderful,” Dunetz said, recalling the day it dawned on her McCarthy would be that ideal person she was looking for.

“I said, ‘Brian, you would be the perfect person do to this.’ He said, ‘of course I’ll do it,'” Dunetz said, pausing a moment to reflect on the bittersweet memory.

Dunetz said she and McCarthy have known each other for years, going back to when both were on the school building committee — Dunetz, as a member of the Board of Education, and McCarthy, an alderman-at-large.

His segment of the video, fresh off the editing table, was played for family, friends and associates of McCarthy who filled the Keefe Center for the Arts auditorium for his funeral.

For Dunetz, seeing the segment reminded her how gracious McCarthy was in agreeing, without hesitation, to do his part for her project.

When the video team of Scott Silva, Dave Pease and Dan Young wrapped up McCarthy’s segment that late October afternoon, Dunetz recalls him praising her for putting together the video.

As he was leaving, she said, “he gave me a thumbs-up — and a big smile.

Dean Shalhoup’s column appears Sundays in The Telegraph. He can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashatelegraph.com or @Teleraph_DeanS.

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