Monday, June 24, 2013

How things get done in a small town

My sister-in-law is editor, publisher, reporter, columnist and chief-cook-and-bottle-washer at the Courier-Times, serving the small towns of Sutherland, Hershey and Paxton. She gets a front-row view of how things get done in small towns - very seldom do folks wait for someone else, or the governments (in this case Village Boards of Trustees) to get things done. They roll up their sleeves and do it themselves. Here is her recent column.

Together
It hasn't been that long since people from the community of Hershey came together with multiple fund raising events that helped them achieve their goal of renovating their American Legion / Community Hall. The tall brick building that sits just east of the Kwik Stop in Hershey is a constant reminder of what people can do when they work together and pull together in the same direction. It is what I would call a well-focused effort.

Many of us recently witnessed a similarly good example in the Paxton community with the hosting of what may be the best Cattlemen's Ball that has ever been produced. It took many, many, many hands, and some strong leadership to make such an important event come together.

Whenever these types of events or campaigns occur, there are always reasons to complain. We may think that we could have designed something better, or perhaps we would have had a better policy, or maybe we didn't like how someone handled a particular situation. It is a given that we can always improve, but the focus and effort have to move on.

There comes a time when a decision has to be made - with the best information available - even if we find later that we could have made a better decision. There comes a time when we have to work with what is being done, rather than causing division by nay-saying efforts and complaining.

Words of wisdom from those who have gone before us "A three-strand cord is not quickly broken" (Eccl 4:12). We have a much greater strength when we are focused in the same direction.

Sometimes I think some community service groups look more like opponents in a tug of war than folks working together for the common good. When this happens, it's time to stop and have a talk. Whether it's a community, a church group, a civic group, employees from a business, or a family, communication is not something we can afford to let go. We can take that same statement and replace the word "communication" with "respect". Respect is something we cannot afford to let go.

I'm personally excited about the plans to renovate the Sutherland American Legion / Community Hall, and I'm excited about the possibility of a new facility, also on the south side of the tracks in Sutherland, that would feature offices, a meeting hall and storage for fire department equipment. I think both plans can work in harmony, both can be successful, and both can benefit the area.
I believe we can all work together - for the common good.

Definitely words of wisdom!

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