Tuesday, August 26, 2014
It was a sad day when Robin Williams died. Hollywood lost a great comedian and actor, but more important was the fact that the man who gave so much joy to people, simply lost his will to live. In the days following his death, it was incredible how many people tweeted or posted comments about the good things Robin Williams had done and how much he was appreciated. Unfortunately, just like Robin Williams, many people are praised and honored at their funerals and will never hear friends and family talk about how much they were loved and valued. Of course we will never know if Robin Williamís life could have been saved had he understood how important he was to his family and friends but it is a good lesson. On the other hand, the recent reception for the Lieutenant Governor was a perfect example of why itís good to honor someone while they are alive. Lt. Gov. McGill was praised and thanked by the Governor, senators, local leaders, and friends. Indeed it was a time of celebration for a life well spent in community and state service. Apparently its never to soon to show appreciation and I have a long list of people who have set good examples, promoted community service, and are just my friends. Perhaps my mom should be first on my appreciation list for setting a good example of not allowing adversity to dictate oneís life. The past year has been challenging on several fronts, but she continues to do her part at church and in the community as she volunteers to serve and help others. On the other hand, she is always ready to have fun, and lives life to the fullest. Momma refuses to stay home and instead is always looking for an adventure or an opportunity to be of service. And, as I see other parents, I appreciate her willingness to move forward and not just sit home and be miserable. While talking about family, I appreciate Eddie Clowney not allowing major health issues to define his life. Of all the people I know, he has the most personal determination and refuses to give in to self pity or difficulty. A lesser man would have given up years ago. Oh, and by the way, who could not appreciate Fran for being a good wife and partner? She certainly outshines a lot of us. Moving on to the community, I appreciate my friends on the chamber board. One interesting fact about this board is that they are an incredibly benevolent group who thinks about the community first and themselves second. If you donít believe it, come to the next banquet and see them in action. And, better yet, the board is special because the members actually like each other. I have been on boards where folks jockey for position or power, and irritate each other constantly, but not this group. Itís always a team effort and there has never been unkind words spokenÖever. It is an amazing group of people that I am thankful for. Speaking of boards, I hope that the Williamsburg County School Board appreciates my friend Dr. Barnes as much as I do. Dr. Barnes is a caring professional that has a heart for the youth of this county. Her focus is always on families and how the school district can provide the best opportunities for them. We are fortunate to have her in the community and I am glad she is my friend. While talking about friends, I am thankful that my friend, Jolie is making a difference in the lives of youth and is bringing 4-H back to life. Regardless of what you may think, 4-H is a strong youth program that has the potential to change lives. There is rarely a week that goes by that some former 4-Her does not share an experience they had years ago in a 4-H Program. Besides making me feel old, it proves that positive youth programs make a difference. Speaking of making a difference, I too appreciate all the Lt. Governor McGill has done for our county. It was obvious from the speakers at his reception that, then, Senator McGill promoted and served as a great advocate for Williamsburg County. And probably, the fact that McGill was willing to cross party lines and work with a Republican Governor did more good for our community than will ever be known. Williamsburg County may be a strong Democratic County, but perhaps we should bear in mind that we are Americans first, South Carolinians second, and should be party related third. I could probably go on and on about people I appreciate in this community, but I would rather you focus on who has made a difference in your life. Everyone is participating in the cold water challenge, but I challenge you to tell one person how much you appreciate them. If everyone participated, just think what it would mean to that person and more importantly, think what it could mean to our community. Robin Williams died too young and unfortunately never knew how many lives he touched. Itís a sad story, but itís a good lesson about helping people understand what they mean to you while you have the time.