The company I work for is bringing jobs to a small town, (by small I mean 3500 people, no McDonalds, one grocery store and a volunteer fire department) and we’re getting invited to community events. I move a lot as the contracts dictate moving here and staying until its done then moving on to another job in another city. When I moved here my neighbor brought over a small basket of peaches; it took me over two hours to go shopping in the local store the first time I went. People knew I was new here, they helped me find things on the aisles and talked to me; introduced themselves; it was strange and yet I really liked the friendliness.
Usually I have very little time to make friends or become part of the community, but this time is a little different and I’ve found myself sucked into the town and the events.
One event was for a charity called Hunters Helping Kids, (I know right?!) I was like: What in the sam hill? I’m not big on arming a kid but I do understand that hunting is a way of life for some and it can help put dinner on the table. The man explained that they get kids and take them out for camping trips or hunting/fishing and basically get kids out from in front of a PC/game console/TV and outside I was still not sure what if someone didn’t want to “hunt”? They take them out with cameras and let them take pictures or go fishing. It’s not just about that,it about the local hunters take kids who are having a rough time with military parents being deployed, terminally ill parents or children themselves, children with a single parent home, at risk kids. You name it, if it’s a kid it’s getting helped… but they take these kids out into the woods to experience nature, not just hunt something down and kill it. Okay it’s a good cause! Check into it.
Anyway we went to this event and donated money by buying raffles tickets…. I won 2 rifles, a fishing rod, deer feed, a picnic basket, some kitchen towels, a beach bag and a whole lot of other stuff that I gave to some of the kids that were there.
So THIS past Thursday… I went to another event, this time I sat with the Mayor and the City Coucilman… They are very nice people and down to earth we spent a good deal of time laughing and cracking jokes. There was a local band playing some mountain folk music (I found myself enjoying despite my “city girl” roots.) and a woman there who’d just had a rose named after her. (From what I hear that’s a big deal) There were people there that had been a huge impact on the community, someone who selflessly helped others, and was still doing so. She’d brought businesses to the small town and provided jobs for people, gave troubled kids a second chance at her stores. She’d really made a difference!
One man brought a technical college to town that has now won national recognition for it’s excellence and the financial administration’s creative management with limited funds due to budget cuts. They are now a model for other colleges, and students come in from all over the state to go to this little tiny town in the middle of nowhere where there isn’t even a McDonalds!
Another woman was a huge classically trained violin/fiddle player, another an apparent natural for the Banjo and had earned some recognition for it. She picked the instrument up at age 40 having never had a lesson and was getting critical acclaim within months.
All in all I learned a lot about this place; there’s a lot of interesting people here and in such a small community. It makes me wonder if these amazing people exist here in a community of maybe 3500 people, how many more are out there in the bigger cities? What are we missing out on?.