Time to praise public workers and those who work for utilities

January 2, 2013 

Here’s hoping that everyone had a safe and joyous Christmas and New Year’s celebration as did my family. My continuing hope is that we all realize the contributions made by those men and women who strive to keep us safe from ourselves and from each other during all holiday seasons and those who maintain the county and city infrastructures during the same.

How many of us ever stop to think that those public safety men and women (state troopers, sheriff’s deputies and city police officers) who patrol our streets and highways continuously during the year seldom get to be with their loved ones on special days? How about those county and city employees who are on call and frequently get called out in inclement weather to effect emergency repairs on our infrastructure, often as a result of some thoughtless or careless act on the part of one of us? How about those firemen and EMTs (many of whom are volunteers) who man the fire stations and rescue vehicles? How about those electric company employees (Flint Electric and Georgia Power) who somehow manage to repair electrical outages most times in short order at all hours of the day and night and in all sorts of weather?

Along my portion of Sandefur Road, the road itself is within the Perry City limits while our property isn’t. My wife and I have cause to be extremely grateful to the Perry Fire Department. Several years ago during the dry summer months, there was a grass fire along the right of way of Sandefur Road in front of our property while we were away. This fire quickly jumped the ditch and got onto our property, but somehow the Perry Fire Department got to the scene almost instantly and extinguished the fire before it had a chance to do any damage other than a small area of burned grass. Needless to say, had this fire gotten out of control, the results could have been disastrous at our house. We will be eternally grateful to Chief Gray and the Perry Fire Department. While this is but one example of the dedication of our public safety personnel, it is huge in the eyes of my wife and me.

In my opinion, we in Houston County, including the cities of Perry, Warner Robins and Centerville, are extremely fortunate in that the public safety and city and county employees who dedicate their lives to serving us are of superb caliber. While I don’t know all of these folks personally, I do know quite a lot of them and I have never heard any of them complain about his or her job and the requirements of that job. To a person, they seem to be enthusiastic about serving the rest of us. I don’t recall ever approaching any of these folks with a question or a need for assistance that the request was not promptly handled.

I firmly believe that good leadership is essential to the positive attitudes of those who serve in Houston County. County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker, Mayor Jimmy Faircloth of Perry, Mayor John Harley of Centerville and Mayor Chuck Shaheen of Warner Robins epitomize those principles of leadership to which I allude. These men and their respective commissions and councils work exceptionally well together for the betterment of Houston County residents. While I do not always agree with their views and direction, nor they with mine, I have found that all are willing to consider differing opinions.

The next time you see one of our public safety personnel or county and city employees, shake his or her hand and thank them for their service, dedication and professionalism. I assure you, they will appreciate your gesture and sincerity; besides, you will feel much better about yourself. You can also attend a meeting of your city council or county commission and voice your appreciation publicly. While you’re at it, don’t forget the many active duty military personnel and veterans that you may meet.

Happy New Year to all -- I wish for you prosperity and good health.

Walton Wood lives in Kathleen. Contact him at jamewood@windstream.net.

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