01/16/08 — Baby steps: Commander’s message — wise words as we plan future

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Baby steps: Commander’s message — wise words as we plan future

Every long journey begins with a small step.

And it is usually accompanied by a crowd of people who are certain that they know that someone else’s first step is the wrong one.

These naysayers never have ideas of their own — or take risks themselves. That would be too much trouble.

They prefer instead to second-guess the contributions of others and to predict their ultimate demise.

So, the message sent by 4th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Steve Kwast Tuesday was courage — both in the face of battle and in the pursuit of improving a community.

The commander advised those present at the annual Speaker’s Forum to stick to their determination to improve downtown Goldsboro and to build a community that will be strong now and in the future.

And he cautioned the rest of us to be patient and to remember that great achievements do not just happen — they are built one brick at a time.

How true.

The initial steps in the downtown improvement project have been fruitful and a reason to feel that this community is headed in the right direction.

And when the Paramount Theater opens its doors next month, city residents will have even more reason to be proud.

But that doesn’t mean the work is done or that there will not be challenges and setbacks along the way.

And the man who leads the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base is advising his fellow citizens to hold steady and to remember their mission.

It is one that will be worth the effort years from now when their children’s children are members of a healthy and thriving community.

And being able to see the bigger picture — even when the road gets rough — is what it takes to be a leader and a member of a community that is moving forward. It is really about thinking of the next generation.

There are hundreds of examples in Wayne County of people who laid the groundwork to make sure this community would be able to capitalize on opportunities today. Many of these visionaries might not have lived long enough to see just what their efforts meant to the generations who followed.

That’s what you do when you care about a legacy more than you crave glory.

Answering this commander’s call to build a future just might be the most important decision we make this year.

Published in Editorials on January 16, 2008 11:10 AM