05/26/05 — Wayne leadership class graduates

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Wayne leadership class graduates

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 26, 2005 1:45 PM

One of the first Leadership Wayne County graduates gave the 2005 class a rousing sendoff Wednesday night.

Jimmie Ford, a former Wayne County commissioner and state legislator, challenged the class members to change themselves and their community.

"When someone asks you where you are going, I want you to answer, 'To the top.' When they ask how are you going to get there, you say, 'By working hard,'" Ford said. "Nothing moves unless some motion is involved. You need to be that motion.

"Wayne County is waiting for you."

The ceremony marked the end of the nine-month program for the 16 class members. About 50 people attended the dinner and program at Billie's Restaurant.

Ford's participation in Leadership Wayne County changed his life, said Ford. It helped him realize that he needed to make the most of each day.

"If your tomorrows are going to be better than your yesterdays, you need to make changes," he said.

He urged the graduates to continue pursuing lifelong education and training, refine their leadership skills, get rid of bad habits, and look for solutions to problems, rather than avoiding or postponing them.

Attitude counts for a lot, he added.

"Stop complaining. Every day is a great day if you wake up, can get out of bed, have the use of your arms and legs," Ford said. "You need to love yourself and others more. ... make people feel good and walk like you feel good.

"Your non-verbal communication can make you or break you."

Following Ford's speech, the class officers were recognized. They are President Keith Westbrook, Progress Energy; Vice President Darren Goroski, Goldsboro Family YMCA; Treasurer Cheryl Brim, RBC Centura; and Secretary Kim Bowers, Hilex Poly Co.

The other class members are Julie Beck, Mount Olive College; Karen Burnette, Wayne Community College; Kristy Fair, Wayne County Public Schools; Jon Highfield, BB&T; Lorie Lee, Wayne County Partnership for Children; Wayne Luce, Best Distributing; Mitchell Medford, Cooper Bussmann; Julie Odom, Wayne County Partnership for Children; Sharon O'Dowd, Wayne Memorial Hospital; David Philyaw, T.A. Loving Co.; Christine Smith, N.C. Cooperative Extension Service; and Paul Sykes, 916th Air Refueling Wing.

Leadership Wayne County is intended both to give participants an in-depth knowledge of the community and to prepare them for leadership positions. It begins with an overnight retreat in September, followed by all-day excursions once a month through April. Also, the class chooses and implements a public service project.

The Wayne County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for the 2005-06 class. Call 734-2241 for more information.