|More of the crowd at last night's public hearing|
I’m a retired Naval officer. I have a master’s in public administration, and I am working on a PhD in nonprofit management.
During my career, I observed some extraordinary leaders. And I know what it means to stand watch over the welfare of others.
Studies show that former public leaders reflect on their experiences in common ways.
I recall talking to the commanding officer of the USS Constellation, an aircraft carrier, home to many thousands of sailors. When I asked this man what he was proud of, he did not mention military campaigns or new technology developed on his ship. He said he was most proud of taking care of his crew.
When I asked an admiral this question, she did not tell me about the millions in contracts and construction she brought to her base. She told me she was most proud of helping those on her base achieve a better quality of life.
I know the Marine Corps general who was in charge of all joint operations during the latest Iraq War. When I asked, “General, what are you most proud of?” He practically shouted, “That I took care of my Marines!”
Now, granted, these accounts have nothing to do with Watauga County. But, it’s interesting, isn’t it? These extremely accomplished and well-trained leaders were engaged in matters of national importance, yet their first priority was taking care of their own.
When your term as a commissioner has ended, will you be able to say the same?
Right now, on your watch, one in five people is struggling to put food on the table this evening. Over 26% of our citizens live in poverty. Some of our own are not doing so well. Often, these people find sustenance and shelter at Hospitality House. Hospitality House helps people improve their situations, thereby eventually lowering the poverty rate. But, for the third year in a row, you have declined to fund Hospitality House, putting its sustainability and the care of citizens under your charge in jeopardy.
Gentlemen, studies indicate, this is not something you will be proud of.