Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Salute to People With Passion.

As I have been getting ready for the travel show season, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to review the marketing materials put out by all of our tourist attractions, both in Lincoln County and in the state of Nebraska.

I have come to the conclusion that I have the best job in the world. Not that this blog is necessarily about my job, but it plays a big part, because it plays a big part in my life. Anyway, there are a lot of reasons it is the best job in the world, but one of the biggest is because it allows me to work with people with passion.

It took a lot of passion back in the late 60’s for North Platte to take on NEBRASKAland DAYS, the official statewide celebration, and it has taken a lot of people with the passion to keep it going strong over the years.

The wonderful collection of memorabilia at the Lincoln County Historical Museum is another prime example of people with passion rolling up their sleeves and putting it together. And that is without even considering the passion of the people who are the subject of the showcase exhibit – the North Platte World War II Canteen. Talk about passion! 54 months of greeting every single troop train that came through North Platte and feeding 6.5 million service men and women, when there probably wasn’t enough food on the table at home? Wow!

Buffalo Bill Ranch is another example of people with passion working hard to make a reality out of their vision.

The list is endless. Governor Morrison with the Great Platte River Road Archway Museum. The monument at the Wild West Memorial (even though I may not agree that this is the greatest thing in America behind the Statue of Liberty!), the 20th Century Veterans Memorial, the Railroad Museum in Cody Park, the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center, the Bluegrass Festival, Dancing Leaf. If the people who wanted to see these things happen hadn’t had the passion to see the projects through to completion, our area would be much the poorer.

I have had the great fortune to work with many of the people responsible for these wonderful attractions, and I am grateful for it. Even though people with passion can sometimes make life uncomfortable for those of us who may not share their particular passion, I thank God for them.

Now I am serving on the Board of Directors of Creativity Unlimited Arts Council, a group of very passionate people who are dedicated to converting an unused historical building into a vibrant art center. It was all started by one woman (you know who you are) who had a passion for creating a Literary Festival in North Platte.

And then there’s Rail Fest and the Original Town Association. Now those are very passionate, dedicated individuals. They understand that without that passion, things just wouldn’t happen, and they are doing wonderful things. Their efforts have changed the way the entire community views itself. We are no longer just a railroad town (said with a shrug of the shoulders and a roll of the eyes), we ARE Rail Town, USA (said with a ring of pride in the voice and a twinkle in the eye). Now that is an amazing accomplishment.

So, whatever your passion is, I advise you to dedicate yourself to seeing it through. Remember, you aren’t going to live forever, and there might not be someone else following you to make your vision a reality.

In the words of Flogging Molly “Nothing ever came from a life that was a simple one” (from The Devil’s Dance Floor).

Thanks for stopping. I raise my cup of coffee in salute to people with passion.

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