The Little Engine That Could

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As a child my brother’s favorite bedtime story was “The Little Engine That Could”. I would listen as my mom read it every night when it was my brother’s turn to choose the bedtime story.

It wasn’t until now as an adult that I truly appreciate the story of “The Little Engine That Could” and have decided that that particular story book is my new mantra.

A mantra, or attitude, that anything is possible if we put our mind to it and frankly, trust in God.

The City of Marion and its residents I think are at that point, as we work to dig ourselves out of a financial mess, and at the same time, focus on how to improve the quality of life for all.

If each one of us individually, and collectively, look for how we can make a difference, I believe Marion can succeed. I see small successes every day.

Several months ago myself and a couple neighbors embarked on a mission to renovate our little neighborhood park.

There have been many conversations about how impractical, illogical and frankly a waste of our time to think we could improve something that has been neglected and become a place for undesirables to hang out.

With Marion Parks Director Belinda Hussong’s blessing, and assistance, we have, and are forging ahead. During one of the many meetings with Belinda, she offered to give us the large playground equipment at the old go cart track on Ind. 18 East.

Well, Jan Bowen, Mike McAllister and myself began strategizing about how we might be able to move the equipment to our neighborhood park at 6th and E streets.

Saturday, July 15, an incredibly significant step was taken to realize the relocation of the playground equipment. A step that only was possible through the coming together of a few neighbors, as well as friends of Hands of Hope, a division of Family Service Society, Inc. and community members.

I can’t begin to express the gratitude I have for everyone who helped with the first phase of the playground relocation. The tenacity of the individuals involved, and the resolve to get all the playground pieces off was difficult to put in to words.

More than half of the people who helped did not live in the neighborhood, will more than likely not ever know any children who will eventually play on the playground, and chose to help because they care.

Those individuals who deserve an incredible pat on the back are:
Jamie Flannery-Flatford, Shelter Insurance Agency, whose late mom Judi Flannery inspired me to become the director of Hands of Hope; Jason Flatford, Jacob Flatford, Wayne Flannery; Teigan Flannery;  Lionel Fuller Jr.; Brandon David; Robert Tippey; Scott Snyder; Daniel Hughes; Jan Bowen; Nick Delauter; Deegan Delauter and Mike McAllister.

Is the work done? By no means, but as the engine in the story book kept saying, “I think I can. I think I can” and after seeing the amazing work that took place recently, I know we can with God’s guidance.

So, whether or not you adopt my brother’s childhood story book as your mantra or not, take time to think about what role you want to take and make in this community as we pull together to make Marion the place to be.

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