What Makes Ronnie Roll: Athens Still Rocks

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Mayor Ronnie rolled in, fresh from an inspiring weekend where he was honored at the Unsung Heroes Banquet, and he expressed his appreciation for this organization who looks for and celebrates unusual expressions of courage in the lives of our young people. He also was sad over the sudden passing of Martha Jo Leonard, who had served everywhere from Rotary to Poke Sallet, and who had recently been chosen as Athena for Grease Festival. “Losing her is a blow,” he said.

Athens Rocks is still rocking, meaning the city-wide scavenger hunt of hand painted rocks carefully hidden and then re-hidden by their finders is still going strong. One of the most touching stories about “how the rocks rock” was that of a little six-year-old girl who found a rock painted with the autism puzzle pieces. The girl was not autistic herself, but had just been diagnosed with epilepsy, and the rock helped her to know that people care about those who are struggling with neurological diseases. The woman who made the rock was named Betty Rae Bingham Crisp, and she shared on Facebook that as far as she was concerned, the little girl could keep it forever.
April is Autism Awareness month, and the Special Olympics competition is Friday, April 20. It is also Child Abuse Prevention Month. “There are so many things for people to be a part of,” said the mayor. “Bubbles of Love Day” is a national movement where for ten minutes on April 25, people will blow bubbles as a way to honor all children who should be allowed to love and be loved by both parents without fear or guilt.

It is time once again for several Relay for Life events, and the recent Bass Tournament raised $11,000 in spite of the cold and rainy weather. The mayor was looking forward to serving once again at the Applebee’s Celebrity Waiters’ Night, where all tips given to servers are donated to Relay. This year the servers were Mayor Ronnie, City Councilman Frank Travis, East Limestone High School band leader “Miss Sam” Janzen, Athens High School football Coach Cody Gross, Athens Fire Department Firefighter Jordan Pugh, and Athens Police Department Officer Michael Stainbrook. Later on, we found out that they raised $5,000, and once again Miss Sam won. The other guys held their own, though, and everybody had a lot of fun.

We talked about the fact that we are coming to the end of our series from the book Enjoy The Ride, and it has been a book chockful of nuggets. We’ll be finishing it up next edition, but for this Ronnie, the thing that spoke to us the most was something with which we both struggle, described as “the tyranny of the urgent.” Author Steve Gilliand puts it this way: “Never let the urgent get in the way of the important.” Figuring out what is truly urgent and what is important is a lifelong endeavor, and we knew it was time to pray about that and so much more. Then, it was time once again for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner