It's Independence Day! I wanted to take for today's column a cue for words or ideas that capture the spirit of this holiday.

It's Independence Day!

I wanted to take for today's column a cue for words or ideas that capture the spirit of this holiday.

First, an homage to tradition. In the July 4 sense, that probably means grill-outs, fireworks, honoring veterans, taking vacation.

In German Village, we're just four days past our longest-standing tradition -- the Haus und Garten Tour.

The tradition is 54 years old, even as the Society is 53. In 1960, Frank Fetch charged $1 for Columbus residents to come see a home he'd "flipped" on the South Side, and so the tradition began!

Speaking of Fetch, we honored our own Founding Fathers as part of the Tour activities.

Terri Dickey, a decades-long volunteer to German Village Society took home the award name for Frank Fetch during Sunday night's volunteer appreciation party.

The Frank Fetch Award recognizes an individual for outstanding service to the German Village community.

Appropriately, Frank Fetch was the first recipient of the award, which was quite timely, because he died six months later. The roster of recipients is a register of leadership, inspiration and beloved friends.

During the same celebration, we honored Barcelona Restaurant owner Scott Heimlich as the Village Valuable Award winner.

The Village Valuable Award is presented to someone who always seems to be there, right when GVS needs them, to lend a special skill, solve a problem or simply to do some hard work.

These awardees are part of a loooooooooooooong list of what I'll call, for the sake of July 4, patriots to the German Village Society.

We just had more than 300 of them show up to help out with tour weekend (that is almost 100 percent for sure a record number for the event.

Over the course of the year, there are at least that many more that serve on the board or a committee, show up for an event, manage a project or pitch in where we need them.

This nonprofit does not exist without the help, support and pride of our patriots, and their (YOUR) support is the envy of nonprofits everywhere.

When people are that involved and that passionate, we sometimes create our non-July 4 fireworks.

The Society is actively involved in conversations currently about parking, BikeShare and historic preservation.

We talked and debated with great passion in the weeks before the tour about the implications of adding an "Autobahn" lane, and I look forward to reporting whether that was a success or failure (sorry, had to hand this piece in June 28, so I'm not sure as of this writing how that went).

I invite these conversations, even when they create a spark(ler?) because this is how people with deep interests and deep love for one another figure out what's best for all.

And so, on this Fourth of July weekend, it all comes down to the big idea signed into the Declaration in 1776: Freedom.

The people of this Society have the freedom to give their time, talent and treasure to dozens and hundreds and thousands of causes across the city -- or the world.

But more than 1,000 of you choose to give your all to this organization.

And in case you've missed me thanking you for that in the past -- I thank you, and am extremely gratified to work alongside you.

German Village Society Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.