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Living united boosts our community

At this point, you have probably heard the word on the street or read it in your favorite community newspaper that local leaders have been putting more effort into banding together to woo additional business to Sylvania and its Screven County municipalities.
Four Wednesdays gone by now ranking local officials gathered for a retreat in neighboring Bulloch County to identify pertinent issues and initiate progression in Screven’s industrial and retail markets.
I, being a pseudo-leader in this community, was invited to the day-long event. My requested presence was more for my voice as a publisher and less for my pen as an editor. They wanted input from a variety of people – I included.
Being a Wednesday, the Telephone’s weekly production day, I was unable to attend the day-long event. That, however, did not silence my opinion on the roundup of activists. In a letter sent to the meeting, I expressed my sentiments. It read as follows:
“What each of you are doing today displays a willingness to unite as one to march forward as foot soldiers toward a common goal – making our community even better. I commend you for this joint-effort retreat and the steps that have been taken by our community leaders to advance Screven County into 2011 and beyond.
“While I applaud this gathering, I also remind you that this is merely a baby step in the right direction. We, myself included, cannot allow this lone day in October 2010 to be the only brainstorming exercise to stimulate more economic growth in our county. We also cannot allow the ideas expressed today to end once they leave our mouths. Those words instead must be captured, analyzed and pushed into action.
“Again thank you for all that you have done and I want to thank you in advance for all the good you will do for our county in the future.”
My beliefs remain the same today. Nobody is going to say enticing business is easy, but if you are waiting for a Fortune 500 company to fall out of the sky while you sit on your duff, you are not being very smart.
We need everyone’s help.
“But Enoch,” I can hear you poised to say, “I can’t bring big business into Screven County.”
Au contraire mon frère! That’s French for “Don’t sell yourself short there bub.”
While I don’t expect you to tug the CEO of Mercedes by the earlobe all the way down to Screven County and point him in the direction of where he should construct a new plant, I do believe you have plenty to offer.
The first thing is just continue to be you. You are a good person with a good heart.
The second is promote the many positives of our community and work to minimize the negatives.
Thirdly, get your priorities in order. If you keep the top items of God and family on top, everything will work out.
Companies look at multiple factors before locating a business into an area. Yes, they look at the location – whether it is the right acreage; whether it is appropriately priced for the value of the property; whether it is suitable for building certain types of structures; and whether it is situated within proximity of viable import-export outlets.
However, business professionals seek so much more. That is where you – all of ya’ll – come to the forefront of the portrait. They want to know if neighbors are seen on a daily basis caring for their fellow neighbors. Those concerned about others are not of the “me, me, me” mentality. If they see a need, they address that need.
In the business world, that is called “teamwork” and it is that teamwork that allows companies to prosper.
A quick way for business officials to see how strong Screven County is living united is the citizens’ support of the local United Way. This program keeps funds inside this community to aid children and adults; assist the poverty-stricken and those stricken with an abrupt crisis; and feed the hungry, while promoting those hungry to better themselves.
A solid United Way program signifies a commitment to others. A solid one despite these tedious economic times speaks volumes of why a business should locate here among us.
You can live united in various ways. You can give. You can advocate. Or you can volunteer to make a difference in our community.
Now is the time to focus on the building blocks for a superior life; education, income and health. It is paramount that we help our youth achieve their potential and assist our senior citizens who have given us so much.
We must do what is necessary to promote financial stability and independence.
When we reach out a hand of kindness to one, we influence the condition of all. An easy call to 564-7550 can get you started.
The United Way system offers something unique -- a proven method to join with others to identify the human care issues that matter most, develop a plan and get results.
United Way brings our community together to do the things that none of us can alone.
And while it is uniting our community, it may just help bring in businesses too.

Enoch Autry is the publisher-editor of the Sylvania Telephone.