About a year and a half ago, I had the privilege of speaking at the grand opening of the new playground in Lake Forest Estates. I talked that morning about the lessons I learned on the journey to get us to that moment. I want to talk about my journey at City Hall, now. Today is my last day as a city employee and like when we dedicated the playground, I want to share what I have learned in the last five years.
- If you can dream it, if you know it’s something worth fighting for, and if you are relentless, you can make things happen.
- Murphy’s Law is alive and well. If something can go wrong, it will. But when you are surrounded by good, smart people you get through the problems. The city employees now on staff are among the smartest, most creative, dedicated employees I have ever had the privilege of working with. But they are nervous right now over the unknown. They need the support of the community. They need to know their work has value. Please go to city events and meetings and let them know you care about your city and the work they do.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. La Vergne has the best volunteers in the state. We also have some wonderful organizations and businesses that love our city. Don’t let emotions and gossip harm the extraordinary good offered by selfless volunteers.
- A true leader is one who knows how to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty, and get things done. A good leader makes decisions based on how the city and citizens can benefit, not by how they will gain personally.
- We have residents who truly DO CARE. But they can do more. It is our civic duty to be aware of what is going on in our community, even when life tries to prevent us from doing so. Demand that elected officials uphold and obey the laws of the land. Contact board members by phone or email if you have a concern or a problem. Contact city officials if you have questions about your water bill or hours for fireworks or how often the police can patrol a street. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Sign up to speak at the Citizens Forums. Don’t be afraid to exercise your first amendment right to free speech – even when your voice shakes, especially if your voice shakes! Make your opinion heard. Don’t think that just griping online about things will change anything. Find out what you can do to make things better if you don’t like how something is. Get involved. Register to vote. Talk to your neighbors and get them to register, too. Then when the next election rolls around, do your homework in advance and actually get out and vote. You owe that to your community, you owe that to yourself.
Although the job I’ve had with the city for nearly five years is ending, I remain devoted to La Vergne and want to see it prosper. I want to help preserve and promote the really good things I have had a hand in organizing over the last five years. Under Alderman Broeker’s leadership in Parks & Recreation we started a nighttime Christmas parade and a Fourth of July celebration. With former Mayor Senna Mosley’s enthusiasm we built a playground in Lake Forest (and let me tell you I fought for this project when no one else would) and we started our Miss La Vergne pageants and the baby show. With the approval of the entire board including Chris Farmer and Sherry Green, we now own our own NONPROFIT fire department, our credit rating went up, we have a beautiful print representing the city and Percy Priest Lake for the Spirit of Rutherford County series and we revamped the Old Timers event to reach out to the changing demographics of our city’s residents. We did so much good. And no one can take that away from me, the previous administration, the volunteers, the city workers, or anyone else who has worked to bring positive change and improve our quality of life.
Thank all of you for your trust, your friendships, your thoughts, and your support. The journey has been amazing and the best news is… we still have not reached our final destination!"It's Not the Destination, It's the Journey",