Neighborhood Leaders:  The Glue of Democracy!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
June 27, 2002

As we approach July 4 it is well to remember that the revolutionary spirit with which our nation was founded was not at all a certainty of success.  In fact as we live, the American experiment is ever unfolding.  Founding father Benjamin Franklin, the "old man of the Constitution Convention made known his thoughts about the durability of our country's form of government known by some as a democracy.  A curious young boy standing outside the Pennsylvania Statehouse where the convention was held asked of him where we had a democracy or a monarchy.  Dr. Franklin merely responded, "A democracy, if you can keep it".  It is within this grand and noble context that the everyday work of our neighborhood leaders helps develop and maintain communities worthy of the name. 

Last Saturday evening I had an opportunity to visit at a gathering of neighbors in a newly developing neighborhood in what we call unincorporated Bexar County.  Since this was the "County", a Deputy Sheriff was invited and a really first class professional, Sandy Atherton was in attendance.  Sandy is one of the many fine "men in blue" serving in the Sheriff's Office and is a picture of dedication. 

The neighborhood group was a diverse group agewise and is dedicated to being good neighbors as well as to finding out about how the County could best guide and serve them.  The person who called the meeting was leading the discussion over everything from street numbering for fire service to deed provisions to rights of landowners, to the duties of sellers to fully inform them as to what rights they have as landowners. 

In like fashion, another larger umbrella group of neighborhood leaders recently attended the Neighborhood Resource Center's Annual Neighborhood Conference.  Every year the Center holds the event in order to bring the best and latest information to neighbors, some of the finest leadership to gain their perspectives on leading and to award those really making a positive difference in our community in the various associations.  One might call the Conference a group of "do-gooders".

Though I am giving focus to neighborhood leaders and their devoted volunteers, they have their counterparts in church, social, civic, political, school and countless other areas where volunteerism is needed.  They are all fundamental to a well-ordered society.  These individuals give freely and selflessly for their causes.  And although their driving force is to make a really positive difference in their chosen area of work, they surely realize that they gain more in personal satisfaction than they give.

I believe that most of these volunteers know that although their work is never completely done, that they are making a huge difference in the life of their community.  Sometimes it is underestimated because it is a service upon which one cannot easily place a price.  And efforts made do not always produce a dramatic or immediately visible result. 

So in the spirit of our country, it is fitting and proper to acknowledge the efforts of our neighborhood leadership and their role in the continual evolution of the American experiment in democracy.  As Commissioner too, I am especially indebted because the work of a Commissioner is never really done.  In fact, without the many volunteers, the work of a Commissioner would be far more challenging, if not downright impossible. 

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