By: Ali Elizabeth Turner
Mayor Ronnie, Holly Hollman, and several other public servants have been short on sleep and long on caffeine and donuts this past week due to the winter storms. We had had to delay our scheduled interview, and nearly were not able to squeeze one in between the “waves” of the storm. The mayor spent most of our time telling me about the heroic measures taken by people in our town and from outside to help us get through it in one piece.
“We need to thank so many, and I hope I don’t forget anyone,” said the mayor. “Utilities, Public Works, Police, Fire and churches worked around the clock. Dispatch answered the phones, taking customer calls. Some people have not been easy to deal with, and they just stay at it,” he said. “We have a reciprocal agreement through the League of Municipalities; so when we have a problem, workers from other cities call to see if we need them, and vice versa. Scottsboro called and came to our aid. It might not seem like all that much to have 6,000 people out of power when you think of Texas having 4.1 million, but when you are one of those people having to go without, it matters a lot to get help,” he said. “The Scottsboro guys have been amazing,” he added. “We have 50,000 power customers,” he said, and by Wednesday night, there were only about 30 people still out of power. Mayor Ronnie also talked about how well the sanding of the roads had gone.
The mayor talked about waking up in the middle of the night trying to figure out how to help a man without power who had a severely ill wife that could not be transported anywhere. “He texted me to let me know the power was back on,” he said, and I wondered how likely something like that would happen elsewhere. “Central Church of Christ has agreed to keep the warming station going for the next few days, and last night they had 10 people stay there. They have kept their volunteers there to help,” he added. “We have been taxed by this, but these are the kinds of things that remind us just how fragile we are, and how we need to come together to look after each other; and we have,” said Mayor Ronnie.
All of it converged to underscore a saying that was in the book we have been reading, Friday Forward. On page 28, there was a familiar statement that headed up a section: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Here’s what it says, and the application to this past week, and even what we are still going through is strong. Author Robert Glazer talked about JFK’s determination to get us to the moon, and how they did it with much less technological prowess than we have today. An IPhone “walking around” in the pocket of an average person could handle the technological demands of 120 million moon missions simultaneously. Glazer said, “So clearly, it’s not always about having the best technology, the right tools, or the smartest people; it’s about having the individual and collective will.” We have indeed been without power and technology this week, but our people, by the grace of God, found a way to power us back up through “individual and collective will.”
The responsibilities of running the city were calling, and we needed to pray. And then it was time for Ronnie to roll.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner