TO THE EDITOR
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To the editor:
Marion just finished another successful community weekend.
Chingawassa Days (whether with one “s” or two) allowed visitors and residents alike to relax, enjoy some small town charm, and forget day-to-day stresses. The opening of the visiting Chisholm Trail exhibit was another success with more than 100 visitors at its launch. Those two events showcase our community very positively.
We locals sometimes choose to be pretty harsh in our judgments and feelings about our community. Hopefully, that’s mostly attributable to always striving for improvements and making Marion even better. As residents, the unvarnished view we get of our community certainly affects those opinions and feelings.
As an example, over the next few weeks, there will be countless conversations and more than a few meetings, which will constitute what the corporate and military worlds call “After Action Reviews” or debriefings of what went right, what went wrong, the good, the bad, and the things for improvement. There will be angst over minute details of the bands, the music, the presentation, the games, or some personal slight, whether perceived or real.
We need those discussions. It’s important to gather different opinions. It’s how we make things better.
But it’s just as important to take a moment for different perspective.
There were numerous visitors to our community over the weekend. Whether out of county, out of region, or out of state, first-time visitors left with markedly different impressions than some of our full-time residents. Personal conversations with some of these visitors had me wondering whether we were really speaking about Marion at all.
Because in those personal conversations, time and again I heard almost disbelief that a community of our size would even attempt to host events like these. I heard disbelief that a community our size could have assets like Central Park, our historic downtown (“The buildings are so big!”), the library, the Historic Elgin Hotel — the list could go on.
These visitors were in awe of what Marion did this weekend. And I know the houseful of guests that stayed with us over the weekend are already making plans to return, because they didn’t get to see and experience everything. And they liked our community — both in place and in spirit.
We can all agree there is always more to be done. We can always improve. There is plenty to think about and plan for as we look to the future of Marion.
But there is also one absolute truth. It will take a community to make our community. Untiring volunteers that believe they are making a difference enabled this past weekend to be a success. Marion will need scores just like them for the continued improvement that we all seek.
Randy Collett, Marion