Demopolis must pursue excellence

Published 2:15 pm Monday, June 24, 2013

By Demopolis Mayor Mike Grayson

“You face the greatest opposition when you are the closest to achieving your goal” – Joel Osteen from his book “31 Declarations”.

I have found that most serious and hard decisions in life are fairly simple. I have also learned that ‘simple’ in no way means ‘easy’. More times than not, a simple answer is yes or no; then as my friend Woody Dinning is fond of saying “the devil is in the details.”

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In pressing forward as a community, or even as an individual, we must strive for excellence. To paraphrase the Army National Guard advertisement from several years back, we must “be all that we can be.” Even by trying we may never achieve a point of excellence and may wind up as average. However if we don’t expect excellence, and work towards it, there is the virtual guarantee that we will at best be average and very likely below average.

The pursuit of excellence in a community can manifest itself in several ways.

Initially, the physical appearance of a town will tell you where priorities are. Is the town clean and well kept; are the streets paved (Note: the mayor and council recognize some of our streets are in dire need of resurfacing and are working on a plan); do the citizens take pride in their homes and neighborhoods; do the shops & stores look inviting. Basically, does the town make you feel good when you drive around? Or, does the place look like a war zone or more accurately does it look like people just don’t care.

We can all contribute to the greater good by simply paying attention to our surroundings and if you see a piece of paper lying on the street; pick it up and put it in the garbage.

Another area of excellence is public safety. We have public safety meetings scheduled every other month where the leaders of our law enforcement, fire and rescue, EMA, the hospital, Air Evac and ambulance service meet to discuss issues and procedures to work smoothly together.

We must never lose sight of the absolute importance of our school system to the success of this community.

In my opinion, instead of lowering standards so more can succeed we should be raising the bar so the quality of having completed our system truly means something. Also, while raising the standards we should be working to help more and more reach those levels of heightened expectations. Likewise, the hospital and medical facilities and medical community play a crucial role in providing separation from a town of excellence and a ‘wannabe.’

As I stated in my column last month, “Success is not a matter of one major event going right; it is more about doing the small things right every day. It is where people are on the ‘same page’ and working towards a common goal.”

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a reception hosted by Theo Ratliff.

Theo brought to Demopolis for his celebrity golf tourney none other than Daymond John, an ultra successful entrepreneur and regular on ABC reality series “Shark Tank.” Daymond gave a most interesting talk that was centered on success and the importance of giving back. He also stated the absolute crucial need for mentors and mentorship in the role of success.

I was greatly impressed and reminded by this talk about several points. First and foremost, everybody was made by God to be unique, we were given certain talents, abilities and skills. He expects us to make use of those gifts. Secondly, this thing called life is not all about us. It’s about us helping others so they can help others and in the long run we are actually helping ourselves.

Together, let’s make something great happen for our town.