Building legacies

There comes a time when you start seeing things in a different light.

You start noticing the happenings around you and seeing the people who are having an impact and making a difference.

You see their passion for what they are doing.

And it is passion — a full throttle, wind-me-up and watch-me-go passion.

Whether it’s willpower, a sense or belief, or just pure guts, they have proven themselves time and again to be champions for their causes.

And they don’t talk about it — in fact, they don’t say much at all.

Not with words.

They let their actions speak, and when they are done speaking (well, they’re never really done speaking), they’ve left the doubters and naysayers in their wake.

They are steadfast and they are ours and that is a good thing.

I’ve been fortunate — lucky — to meet some of these people, talk with them, watch them work, and see the results of their efforts.

They are, if you open your eyes and your mind and your heart, inspirations.

The good ones make you feel and believe what they feel and believe, and that, too, is a good thing.

So, here are a few — by no means all — of the people I’ve been lucky enough to deal with who are building legacies.

Judge Don Elledge has changed lives — futures — through Anderson County Drug Court.

He does not give up on people, or rather he does not let people give up on themselves. He and Barrit “Winnie” Gadd have healed, through grit and determination, shattered lives — lives that others gave up on.

The grit and determination belong to the people Drug Court has helped. Judge Elledge and Winnie Gadd make them see they have it.

It takes work and commitment on everybody involved’s part. It’s not an easy task and it is not a pain-free task. But it’s worth it.

And it is good for all of us.

It seems to me that Cherie Turner Phillips has put up with more (excuse me) crap and more disrespect than any one person ought to. But she has persevered.

She has done so while worrying about others.

Feeling worn down, Cherie? No, but so-and-so is having some difficulty with …

If anyone in the world can turn lemons into lemonade, Cherie Turner Phillips can.

I don’t think Cherie sees it like I do. I don’t think she sees it as her being ,disrespected, her having to deal with senseless (excuse me again) crap. I think she sees it as disrespect for ,senior citizens. I think she sees it as shovels full of (excuse me once again) crap being tossed at senior citizens.

There is enthusiasm and then there is, “Good gosh, what was that!?”

Kelly Johnson and Dr. Tim Parrott just have a way about getting you excited about what’s going on in education. The directors of schools for the city of Clinton (Johnson) and Anderson County (Parrott) can get you pumped up and ready to rumble about a math test. “Ace” that math test and you are walking on Cloud 9. Don’t “ace” that math test and you are walking on Cloud 9 anyway because you know you can “ace” that math test.

Next time.

With a little more hard work.

But you know what? They will help you, they will bend over backwards for you, to make that hard work fun. And they will praise you to no end for your efforts. Walking on Cloud 9 always feels better when you work for it.

I could go on and on and on because there are a lot of people in our little corner of the world who have a passion for what they do, and what they are doing is making our community better.

There are a lot of them out there.

And that’s good for us.