Working together as a community, we can move that subway car

Before I had kids, the news was just the news. It was something you watched at six pm and then moved on to something more entertaining. Now that I have children the news is just plain scary. It’s a frightening mishmash of terrorist attacks, murders, shootings, and election candidates who promise to make it all better. I’m getting a little weary of the constant barrage of bad news. Then, this Sunday morning, during the welcome moment in the church I attend with my family, we were reminded of a news story that was an uncommon glimmer of goodness. A couple of years ago, in Australia, a commuter on his way to work slipped and his leg fell into the abyss between a subway rail car and the platform. In the blink of an eye this gentlemen found himself inescapably stuck between an immovable piece of concrete and and several tons of train car. This could have ended badly. The train could have moved and our news that night would have been filled with a grisly tale of an average joe being crushed and torn apart by the moving train. But that didn’t happen. Instead, all of the passengers on the train got off the train, and putting their shoulders and backs into it, rocked the train car away from the platform just enough so that the man could be pulled to safety. His fellow passengers didn’t stand around and bemoan the situation. They didn’t berate the man for putting his foot in the wrong place. They didn’t step around him or over him or on him. There didn’t seem to be much arguing about who should do what and when. They simply got off the train, put their shoulders and backs into the problem, saved the man, and then went on about their day. It is an inspiring example of what can be done when people work together for the benefit of others. If you take the time and look around our city, then you will see several examples of people working together for the benefit of others. People are putting their shoulders and backs into efforts designed to move the immovable so that many of our fellow citizens can have a chance at a better future. Take, for example, the community garden effort on Bell Street. Churches, educators and neighbors have come together to beautify a vacant street corner and turn it into an oasis of healthy food in the midst of a food desert. Habitat for Humanity and Homes of Hope are both organizations that are community supported and are working to improve the quality of housing for many citizens in our community. United Ministries and the Free Clinic are a lifeline for many in our city and are able to do their work due to the support of citizens in the community. Clinton Community Cares is an opportunity for people to donate monthly to a fund that helps those struggling to pay for water and electricity. You can donate as little as a few cents of month, but that will make a big difference in someone’s life. Contact city hall to find out more. The Laurens County Future Scholarship, proudly supported by the City of Clinton and the City of Laurens, offers an opportunity for residents who graduate from high school to attend technical college for free. The only requirement is that you graduate high school and it is available to everyone. Hunger. Substandard housing. Money for necessitates. Access to education. All are big problems. All seem impossible to move, and if you are trapped in a world where you struggle to keep a roof over your head, food in your tummy, and dream of a shot at a better life, these problems can seem as big as railcar and you can feel pinned between it and a concrete wall. We have a choice. We can complain loudly and angrily about the challenges our city faces, and you don’t need me or anyone else at city hall telling you that our city faces some significant challenges. You know that we do. We can bemoan our problems, belittle the ones trying every day to improve our community, and belligerently attack others because we don’t think they are doing enough to solve a community problem or challenge. Or, we can join our neighbors and, putting our minds, hearts, shoulders, and backs into it, make the community better. The point I am trying to make is this: you can be part of the solution but we all have to be willing to work together, to support each other, to take the time to listen to differing points of view, and to accept the fact that we may not know as much about a situation or problem as we like to believe that we do. This is our city, and our future will be based on our choices and our efforts. Let’s get to work. (Frank Stovall is city manager of Clinton.)

My Clinton News

P.O. Box 180
513 North Broad St.
Clinton, SC 29325
Phone: (864) 833-1900
Fax: (864) 833-1902

 

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