Much good to come from Our Smokies Our Future

Nov. 17, 2012 @ 03:37 PM



Years ago, several counties participated in the Nine Counties, One Vision process sponsored previously by the Cornerstone Foundation and led by co-chairs Edye Ellis, a respected newscaster for WBIR of Knoxville, and Maryville’s Fred Forster, a retired Major General, who at that time served as President of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce.

Most observers believed that Knox County especially reaped benefits from the process – interstate improvements, a jobs program, and a revival of the downtown among them. Best of all perhaps is that one of the volunteers – a man who had never before engaged in any form of public service – was so energized by the initiative that he later ran a successful campaign for city mayor, and then performed so well in that capacity that he became Governor of the State – the first Knoxvillian to serve in that capacity since Reconstruction.

Public service can be richly rewarding but it also can be fraught with peril. Many qualified people decline public service opportunities because of the potential for disagreement and the inevitable criticism associated with the job. Moreover, we who are served too often fail to say thank you.

That having been said, I want to express my sincere gratitude to all who have served on the steering committee of Our Smokies Our Future, all who attended the meetings, and all who patiently listened to the views of our people on the future of this community.

Special kudos to Stefanie Johnson for her leadership role. I predict that much good will come of this process, and that many of you participating in the process, if you so choose, will lead our county for years to come.

My four grandchildren are tenth generation Sevier County on several sides. I hope and expect that they will not only benefit from all who participated in this process but that they will also remember to say thank you for a deed well done.

Gary R. Wade