Thank you, Senator

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2005

In the last few weeks, much has been said and written about a Wisconsin senator's visit to the area.

Perception is an important thing indeed and this senator may have perceived us as being behind the times and that we have a lot less than others.

On Tuesday U.S. Senator Richard Shelby visited Greenville as he makes his way across the state visiting every county in Alabama.

Of course an enthusiastic crowd at the Greenville Depot gave him a warm welcome, as is common for people of the "City of Smiles."

After the meeting, where Shelby touched on the situation in Iraq, illegal immigration and the Mid-East Peace Process, Shelby paid a visit to the new Greenville YMCA.

Once there the senator found several people working to improve the facility through their "sweat equity."

To everyone's surprise, he announced that he would commit $250,000 to the Greenville YMCA.

We cannot say how much this commitment means to the dream that many in this community have for continuing what was started years ago with the establishment of a YMCA in Greenville.

For months we've heard and reported that money was getting tighter as they continued to find more and more things that needed to be upgraded to bring the facility into line with building and DHR codes.

It goes without saying that this $250,000 is a big boost to making that dream a reality.

The people who were there working did not plan their visit to coincide with the senator's, but we're glad to know they were there.

One of the senator's key comments at the Depot was that the federal government can help, but it is just as important that we help ourselves.

That is what we've been doing now for months on the new YMCA facility.

And on Tuesday it paid off.

As more and more people hear and read about Greenville, Alabama, they will see what Sen. Shelby saw on his visit.

Yes, we have our problems, but we aren't sitting back waiting for a handout.

We'll work with blood, sweat and tears to take care of our own.

But when you do that, the rewards are much sweeter.

As Allen Stephenson said of Shelby's commitment, "We weren't looking for a handout, just a hand up."

So thank you Sen. Shelby for acknowledging our community's pride and hard work with your generous gesture and our thanks to the many who have invested of themselves to make the dream more of a reality.

Our hats are also off to the folks at Greenville Academy who lost a school, but gained the pride in knowing their efforts and their school spirit will continue on in the reality of the YMCA for many, many years to come.