People work together to make area great

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2011

Next week, The Star-News will publish our annual Profile edition. This year, we are focusing on people who moved to our communities by choice and those who work to enhance the quality of life.

When we embarked on this path, if you’d told me we’d interview one person who grew up in Alaska, I would have laughed. If you’d told me we’d find two, well, I wouldn’t have believed you.

But we did. One led a life of adventure there before retiring here, beginning as the child of a gold miner who went to school in a tent where students were in serious danger of their clothes freezing to the tent.

The other moved here to be near family and because it is warm.

“It took three years before I noticed the heat,” she said.

We talked to people who are doing big things – like leading the community; medium things – like finding homes for abandoned animals; and smaller things – like leading a Bible study for area coaches. Collectively, they are making enormous contributions to our quality of life.

We forget sometimes when we focus on things we don’t have – a certain brand-name restaurant; more retail choices; bigger or different entertainment venues – that someone has to lead the effort to make things happen. To attract new residents, or to convince people who grow up here to stay, that we have to make our community attractive. From wooing Wendy’s to being friendly to people who visit, each of us contributes to the bigger picture.

If you think about where we live and the size of our county, it is amazing that we have so much. In Andalusia and in Opp, there are vibrant arts communities that include visual and performing arts. There are amazing volunteer efforts, from feeding hungry people to building houses to improving literacy. We have beautiful parks, access to a national forest, and plenty of opportunities for team sports, hunting, fishing and boating.

We hope when you read this year’s edition, you’ll feel the sense of pride in our community that we feel. And that you’ll feel inspired to do something to make this place even better.

Your contribution may be as simple as financially supporting the work of others, picking up litter, or as big as seeing a need and launching a whole new initiative. Whatever it is, each of us have an obligation to give back to the people and the place that give us so much.