21 Mar Those Who Serve…The Heartbeat Our Community.
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”- John Bunyan
Quality of life in a community starts with the people who live in that community, and there is no question that we have some terrific neighbors here in Baldwin County. I’ve been cleaning up the contacts in my phone over the last few weeks, and I have 3998 contacts in my phone. Considering I probably had 350 in 2010 when I first started to run, I have been truly blessed to meet and know a lot of people across our county. We have so many great people who have chosen a career that allows them to serve others every day, and countless more who give of their time to volunteer.
Our law enforcement officers and the support staff behind them are absolutely the best here in Baldwin County. When it comes to the motto “to protect and serve,” ours simply are the best. Last month, Bob Correa and Greg Smith went to serve some papers, and the next thing they know, they’re hustling out the door from a guy shooting at them. A few weeks ago, Mike Walker was shot in the face, AND then continued to communicate with his team on the way to the hospital. A few years ago, Curtis Summerlin was shot, and Scott Ward gave his life serving your Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department. They deserve our respect. We have 37 fire departments across Baldwin County that not only respond to fires, but they drop whatever they are doing to respond to automobile accidents and medical emergencies across the county. Did you know that more than 90 percent of those who serve in our fire service are volunteers? Think about that. They volunteer to run into your burning house to save your family. Stop by the firehouse and donate to the next boot drive.
Alabama has one of the largest concentrations of veterans per capita in our country, and Baldwin County
has more than most counties in Alabama. Our veterans and their families chose to serve in the military and are prepared to sacrifice for the protection of our freedoms and our quality of life. They are great neighbors, employees, and they serve their entire lives. Please say thank you to every veteran you meet.
Teachers are serving every day to develop our children for the future by the example they set in the classroom along with instruction that prepares them for life. They have chosen to serve the future. As the saying goes, “If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a veteran.”
I’d also like to brag on other groups that you may not be as familiar with who are adding to the depth and quality of life in Baldwin County every day by serving and volunteering. Certainly our five Chambers of Commerce are outstanding, and they improve services and expand our local economy by working together. Just about every one of our big festivals is hosted by a chamber and dozens of volunteers. For the underprivileged and people in need, we have Prodisee Pantry feeding the poor, CARE House helping abused children, The Lighthouse helping abused women, Under His Wings helping teen girls, Home of Grace helping women recover from addiction, Ecumenical Ministries helping anyone in need, and one of my favorites, the Boys Ranch raising great kids. The folks serving and volunteering in these organizations are angels. Our local churches are doing some really cool things serving the needs of Baldwin County residents through so many different ministries. The United Way and the Community Foundation do more than you can imagine. And there are hundreds of volunteers across the county setting a positive example for our children through youth sports, Boy & Girl Scouts, plus service organizations like Rotary, Optimist, Kiwanis, and Lions Clubs across the county, Impact 100, Boys and Girls Clubs, garden clubs and more. It’s incredible how many people are giving to our community. And without these caring, giving people, Baldwin County would not be the outstanding place we call home. I am inspired by them and will always support them and the work they do.
As most of you know, I grew up in Atlanta, and in Atlanta, just about everybody is trying to “be somebody.” People in Baldwin County aren’t pretentious; they’re genuine, friendly and giving — working to make our home a better place to live tomorrow than it was yesterday. Lastly, I encourage you to get involved somewhere in our community, as I have found that my problems get much smaller when I help someone else with theirs.