An urge to serve: Anyone who cares enough to try deserves your respect
Monday night, members of the Wayne County Board of Education said goodbye to longtime member and school advocate Pete Gurley.
After decades of service to the schools, Gurley decided not to run for another term as an at-large member of the Wayne County Board of Education.
And his colleagues wanted him to know Monday just how much that service has meant to the schools and the children they serve.
Gurley is not alone. There are many men and women in this county who decide -- for whatever reason -- to put their names in the hat to serve their county in some capacity as a public official.
They are compensated in some cases -- yes -- but not in anywhere near the amount they work to address the needs of their constituents.
And that does not even count the time required to win the seat in the first place. Ask any candidate how many plates of barbecue they have eaten over the last few weeks and how many hands they have shaken. They will probably say hundreds. That is what it takes to make sure the voters will remember your name and what you stand for on Election Day.
The good ones know that when -- and if -- they are elected, they will spend much of their time doing just that, listening to constituents, attending meetings and addressing concerns.
And just in case you are wondering, it is often a thankless job, with more people complaining about your service than calling to thank you for the long hours you are spending.
So, knowing all that, why would anyone decide to take a chance and pursue elected office not only in Wayne County, but anywhere?
The answer is easy, really. They really do want to make a difference. Otherwise, the effort would not be worth the reward.
So, no matter what happens today, and no matter who ends up in charge after the votes are counted, those who have decided to make the commitment to try, and those who have served, should be proud.
Although it might not always feel like your community notices, we really do know how hard it is to make the commitment and to put yourself out there.
And we appreciate all you have done -- and all you will do -- to make Wayne County a better place.
Published in Editorials on November 4, 2008 10:22 AM