Volunteers working together set example

Published 6:31 pm Saturday, May 16, 2009

I was treated on Thursday not only to lunch, but to an excellent illustration of how much we can accomplish when we agree to a common goal and work together to achieve it.

I had lunch at John’s Seafood and Steaks in Murfreesboro. The occasion was the annual meeting of the Murfreesboro Historical Association and I was there as a reporter.

The keynote speaker was Vann Rogerson, executive director of North Carolina’s Northeast Commission. Rogerson told the group what it already knew: tourism – particularly “heritage tourism” – is critical to the economic success of our part of the state. It is a rich resource for us, but it is up to us to make optimum use of that resource.

Rogerson said the group meeting that day has done that very, very well. In fact, he said the Murfreesboro Historical Association has set the standard for others in this part of the state.

“You guys really have it going already,” Rogerson said. “You have done a tremendous job of selling yourselves.”

He’s right, of course.

The Association, with its Christmas Candlelight Tour being the prime example, works tirelessly to draw visitors to that community.

It is not alone.

As you read this, the annual Jefcoat Museum’s PorkFest will be under way. This will be my first time to attend, but I’m told it draws at least 1,200 visitors to the town.

Last week, I sat in on a planning meeting for Murfreesboro’s Watermelon Festival, an event approaching its 25th anniversary and one that is known throughout this part of the world and that draws, over its four-day run, more than 40,000.

And, toward the end of this month, the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce will stage its first ever Taste of Murfreesboro, an event that will see local cooks preparing their specialties and participants sampling those specialties and perhaps even buying the recipe.

If you look at a list of the names of the people who make each of those events a success, you will note that many of those people appear on more than one of those lists – and some of them appear on all the lists.

And once you’ve noticed that, perhaps you’ve discovered the reason all of those events are so successful. Everybody is working together to make them successful.

Wouldn’t it be great if the whole world worked like that?

David Sullens is president of Roanoke-Chowan Publications LLC and publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald and the Gates County Index.