I think most people will be glad to flip the calendar to 2021 and put this year behind them, but as I look back on 2020, it is with gratitude. I obviously recognize the tragedy the pandemic had on people’s lives and jobs, but for me 2020 was a blessing. Here are my Top Ten things I am most thankful for this past year.
10. Local media: I’ve had a chance to work with the local radio and newspaper staffs and they have been wonderful. They have the job of reporting the news, sometimes the bad news, but yet care about our community and what happens here. It is so refreshing to see them report on Chickasha without having an agenda like we see with other media outlets nationally.
9. Optimism with our public schools: First year Chickasha Superintendent, Rick Croslin, started in a pandemic and has had to deal with unprecedented challenges. Despite all of that, he speaks with enthusiasm and passion for the direction our public schools are headed. I love that Can-Do spirit!
8. A welcoming community: I can’t tell you how many people that I have run into that told me “welcome home.” They knew my dad or my siblings and welcomed me back to Chickasha. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s really good to be home!
7. Destination magnets: Festival of light, Grady County Fairgrounds, Sports Complex and so much more. My job is to help our local economy grow and having destinations already bringing thousands of people to Chickasha is such a blessing.
6. Canadian Valley Tech: I had the opportunity to tour the facility before the pandemic and was so impressed with all that they offer. They want to help local businesses by training the workforce and they really care about Chickasha. What an asset they are to our town.
5. Chickasha Chamber of Commerce: For our town to make progress, it’s imperative that the Chamber and the EDC work well together. Cassandra Ersland and the entire Chamber staff works hard to make Chickasha better. Restaurant Bingo, Shop Chickasha, Tunes in June and Christmas in July were all successful events because the Chamber was willing to work with the EDC to help our merchants.
4. USAO: I spent my first two year of college at USAO and believe it really helped me become a creative thinker. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with several staff as well as Dr. Feaver and I’m excited that they want to become a bigger part of the community and for their plans in Downtown. Having the only Liberal Arts University in Oklahoma is a huge selling point for Chickasha.
3. Dedicated Stakeholders: After being gone for over 30 years, I wasn’t sure how new ideas would be welcomed in the business community. To have so many business leaders embrace the future of Chickasha is very motivating. It’s easy to be excited about economic development when you witness civic minded leaders investing back into Chickasha!
2. Family run businesses: They are the backbone of every community. They often support many generations of family members and are full of work ethic that transcends the corporate world. Chickasha’s strength to overcome hard times is clearly visible in our numerous family owned businesses.
1. I am so excited to have the opportunity to help my hometown grow and prosper. My Dad spent over 20 years serving the public schools here. I saw how he believed that young people were truly the future of a town. He was dedicated to help students be successful, not just in high school, but in life. He taught me what it meant to have a servants heart and to love where you live. Thank you John Cowan for somehow helping guide me back home. I hope I can also serve this community like you did, because that would be #TheGoodStuff.
Happy New Year Chickasha, 2021 will be a great one!