It’s almost been six years since I started advocating on behalf of the businesses and industries of Scott and our sister counties. I have had the honor of seeing businesses open their doors, and in six years, I have seen very few of them close them. We are, without argument, a part of rural Tennessee. I am not, nor should you be ashamed of that. We don’t have skyscraper office buildings, industries who employ thousands of people, sprawling malls, but in saying that, we don’t sit in hours of traffic to and from work and school, we don’t have high crime rates concerning murder, and we have a sense of community that rallies strong when we have a neighbor in need. Most of us know one another or we know each other’s parents or grandparents. We also know the times that one another finds their selves in a position that would be considered a “strike” in life. In saying all that, I understand rural isn’t for everyone, but it seems to fit for 22,000 thousand of us that calls Scott County home.
I realize, more than most, the issues that Scott County faces. The Board of Directors, that I work for, faces and address them on a daily basis to try to survive in a fierce game of competition. I also realize that it doesn’t matter where in the world you travel, call home, or view from a screen, they have issues as well. So, why does County’s issues seem more critical? It is because we live here and the weaknesses we face hit us square in the face daily. Despite what we think, move anywhere in the world and you will see the problems that face us, in many ways, are apparent elsewhere. Every community fights a battle to overcome, maybe they wear a different color jersey or look nicer, but they are facing issues inside their team (community). So yes, we have issues, and at times, our issues are worse than others.
When I started my job almost six years ago, we had just lost some of the best paying jobs in the county, 260 of them to be exact. A few years later, we lose our hospital and more good paying jobs. The sky in Scott County grew dark and people felt defeated. Yet, in that dark storm that seemed to loom over us, our local businesses and industries buckled down and decided to weather the storm. Every day, they opened their doors. Every day during this fierce time of stormy weather, they still supported the local workforce, schools, and organizations and learned to operate with less. Why? Because they live here, work here, and love the community they chose to live their dreams in. In those days of darkness, when their accountants were telling them that negative profit lines were to doom them, they stayed. Now, the economy, thanks to the dedication of a state of recruiters who made us desirable to do business here, is feeling a swing of hope that is racking up a hit. Our local businesses are maybe, just maybe coming to the plate with the reality that they may get to go to bat with a year-end balance sheet of at least a base hit.
So, how does this all tie together? Rural Tennessee can often be considered the underdogs in the game of growth, but that is such a ridiculously, incorrect label. We as a community weathered the storm, we are now beginning to win the game. I guess my question of that keeps haunting me is simply this, hearing all you have heard, watching our team stand in the woes of defeat, brewing storms and false labels, do you as a community support your team? Do you cheer them on? Do you stand by them and encourage them, shopping with them when possible, being positive in speech about their commitment to the county, or do you label them to the world as a rural Tennessee community that can’t win? Why does it matter? It matters because after all that we have been through, the businesses and industries of Scott County, who could have easily, one by one, joined other teams decided to stay and keep Scott County going. In all that, the dedication, the struggle, the financial support they have given, do you support them? Rally around them and be proud of who you are a community that refuses to stop or stay defeated. In cheering for them, you are indeed cheering for the best county in the state…..SCOTT. GO TEAM!!!!!