Former Wayne County Commissioner Mary Heyob kicks off our month of “Our Community” and provides some fun insights into our small towns- just because.
Did you know there are 22 small towns in Wayne County? You know some of them: Cambridge City, Centerville, Fountain City, Hagerstown – or even Greens Fork, Pershing, Milton, Boston. But there are several smaller towns that are enhanced by community activities and kindness.
Check out a map of Wayne Co. and see if you have ever visited Abington, Whitewater, Dalton, Economy, Spring Grove, Williamsburg, Jacksonburg – just to name a few. The citizens in all these small towns look after one another, sharing their concern and offer help when needed. Just because.
I am amazed at the stories I hear of the many good deeds that evolve into making our small towns so special. If you read our local small-town newspaper, The Western Wayne News, you will read many of those uplifting stories. There are times when those good deeds go unnoticed – the givers are quiet about what they do – they come to the aid of others not for self-acclaim, but, just because.
Think of the volunteers who painted and updated the house of a former teacher, built entry ramps for handicapped homeowners, performed other house repairs when the owners needed help. Just because!
Think of the town employees and volunteers that make sure decorations light up the towns for various holiday celebrations. Or, in Centerville, honoring veterans from the surrounding area. Just because!
Think of the many local entrepreneurs who have opened small businesses that have helped our small towns become a destination. Hagerstown, Cambridge City and Centerville are teeming with many locally owned diversified businesses: including a hardware store, grocery stores and several restaurants, antique stores along with small manufacturers and distributers.
All of these locally owned businesses employ men and women who benefit from the foresight and investment of these entrepreneurs. Greens Fork’s small restaurant where locals gather to catch up on the news, while the local community center offers meals in time of need. Fountain City – home to the very popular historical destination providing a look back at our troubled past and passing that knowledge onto many young students and history buffs.
How about Williamsburg – where some men and women took it upon themselves to restore their school building – turning it into a place where young people can gather, play basketball, have parties, family reunions and community events.
Thanks, should be a mantra to the many local people who have purchased older buildings in our small towns, renovating them, turning them into viable businesses. They depend on all Wayne County residents to help their businesses succeed. Be sure to remember the ‘Shop Local’ incentive encouraged by the Chamber. Just because!
Our small towns are home to Community Centers, offering activities to help us stay healthy and just have fun; and health clinics from two hospitals, allowing us to obtain medical help close to home. One of Indiana’s oldest credit unions was founded in Hagerstown and remains there today. Other, locally owned bank branches serve other towns. Bed and Breakfasts and luxury guest rooms are available for out of towners who want to enjoy the small-town atmosphere.
Wayne County farmers are fortunate to have several locally owned suppliers, repair shops and small equipment dealers helping them with their ongoing job -doing their part in feeding the world.
Think of the small-town schools that have graduated many of those entrepreneurs, successful business people, successful elected officials and the excellent workforce. We should be thankful for the many young people who have chosen to remain in or return to Wayne County providing their expertise, knowledge and professionalism. Just because!
Think of the corporations who have come to Wayne County drawn by the uniqueness of our small towns and the work ethic those towns have instilled in our workforce. These companies provide products and services used every day by not only the people in Wayne Count, but worldwide.
Products produced here can be found on your pantry shelves; in your refrigerators; in your cars; feeding your pets; as well as the packaging for some of your favorite foods.
The product of one of our local businesses might just be loading your trash in the early hours. Our local workforce in these companies will be proud to tell you their finished products are shipped across the nation and the world.
Think of the smaller towns whose residents continue to share and enjoy holiday celebrations, offer free meals during rough times, offer help to those in need, offering friendly visits and good deeds. Just because!
During 2020, acts of good will and charitable giving far exceeded any time in our history. Not surprising, your neighbors in Wayne County share their time, talents and treasures when others are in need. Those acts of kindness continue as we work our way through the pandemic. Just because.
So, as you drive through Wayne County – as you travel the local, state, and county roads, take a minute to appreciate how lucky we are to have our small towns and their citizens.
Sincerely, Just – Mary C. Heyob, Wayne County Resident.
P.S. Keep up the good work.