That's one of nice takeaways I'll treasure as a reminder from this weekend spent enjoying our special community. In one very full Saturday, my wife and I attended the 30th annual Fuzz Run, the 2nd Texas Alley - Sandhill Reunion, and the Friends of Newton Parks fundraiser -- A Toast to David Waller.
Nearly 3,000 runners (and scores of volunteers and onlookers) flooded the streets of Covington early Saturday to benefit the Covington Police Department's Police Who Care charity. Now a long-standing tradition with a rich history, it's hard to imagine the first Fuzz Run drew about a dozen runners. But, from humble beginnings, with imagination, persistence, and hard work, our police have given us a showcase event that puts Covington on the map across the southeast and creates fun for the entire community.
For historic significance, it's hard to top Saturday afternoon's celebration of two of Covington's oldest historic black communities, as families that grew up in the Texas Alley and Sandhill communities gathered for food and fellowship at the intersection of West Street, Walnut Street, and Hendrix Circle, just south of Washington Street. It was an afternoon rich in remembrance, thanks to local historian Mrs. Emogene Williams and other sharp minds who preserve and protect an oral history we're lucky to have. But, the reunion is a new tradition started by Rev. Avis Williams and others, as is the health fair sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Walgreen's, and local medical professionals.
At Saturday evening's fundraiser for Chimney Park, prominent speakers and hundreds of guests paid homage to the life's work of a friend to many of us, David Waller. While David's contributions as Wildlife Resources Director at Georgia's Department of Natural Resources were lauded across the southeast and nationally, those toasting David also gave testimony to the lasting impression he has made on Newton County over the past 30+ years. Though born and raised in South Georgia, David is living proof of the impact a man can have on the place he and his family choose to call home.
You may wonder what any of this has to do with my city council campaign. But, reflecting on the day reminded me of a book by Dr. Michael Mescon, Dean Emeritus of the Georgia State University School of Business, titled Showing Up for Work and Other Keys to Business Success. I never had the opportunity to take a class from Dr. Mescon, but my wife Kim did. His teachings were as simple, honest, and straightforward as that title. To make a difference anywhere, you first have to be there. You have to show up.
The Covington Police Department and the Fuzz Run volunteers showed up. The organizing committee for the Texas Alley - Sandhill Reunion and the AKA sisters showed up. David Waller showed up.
In my campaign platform, I say "Active listening requires being present, participating in the community, and asking people what matters to them." That's the kind of councilman I will be, because it's the kind of citizen I've been inspired to be all along. Communities are built by people who show up, and we are truly blessed.
Politicians are great at telling you how much they "love this community." Don't let anyone tell you. Make them show you.