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What makes a great community?

Contributing writer

Six years in one place is a record for me as an adult. There were almost three years in Spokane where I lived in five different places. Then there were three years in the Pasadena area where I lived in four different places before coming to Marion and moving into the house we have.

Other than the amount of stuff that accumulates when you’re not moving as often, it is wonderful to be in the same house for so long. We have a tremendous sense of home here, and a significant part of that is the community of which we are a member.

What a great community we are part of here. As KWCH documented so well in their visit to our town, we are a community of people investing in the future through improving our schools and our hospital.

But is that what defines us as a community? I know and believe that schools and medical care are significant parts of our town, but what defines us as a community is much greater.

Growing up in Tucson, there were many wonderful opportunities for hiking in the surrounding foothills and mountains. As I got older, my friends and I would go out hiking together, and before one of those treks as I was heading out the door, my Dad stopped me and reminded me that as a group of hikers we are only as strong as our weakest hiker.

This week the Community Thanksgiving dinner will be served by hardworking and gracious volunteers at Marion Middle School for anyone that wants to come and eat. Following that event and leading up to Christmas there will be opportunities to participate in the Community Christmas program through the city to help ensure that families in our own town can have wonderful Christmas celebrations.

What makes the community that we are a part of so great is that we look out for our neighbors, we encourage one another, and we help when we see there is an opportunity to do so. Twice now neighbors have helped me cut limbs that were too big to remove whole. Neighbors have mowed my lawn for me when I have been too busy. And friends have stopped a burst pipe and fixed a furnace when we were out of town in the dead of winter.

Marion is indeed a great community, but we are only as great as the person who needs the most help. And I know from experience, we never know when any one of us will be that person. We cannot be too proud to ask for help when we need it, and we cannot be too shy to offer it when we clearly see help is needed. This is indeed a great community and will continue to be one into the future.

Last modified Nov. 24, 2011

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