Since Xavier left last week, I’ve met a whole slew of new people who handle a lot of the things he always covered while he was here at The Lebanon Democrat.
It’s certainly given me a respect for all the hard work he did in the years he was here, but even more than that, it’s given me an even greater appreciation for all the great people and all the great things happening in Wilson County.
Last week, I sat down and talked with Wilson County Tourism Director Amy Nichols for about an hour about all the cool sites, restaurants and attractions in Wilson County that hope to draw more tourists here. It’s always nice to be around someone who is passionate about their job, and let me just tell you, Amy Nichols gives off passion every time she talks about Wilson County.
I don’t actually live in Wilson County, I live in Rutherford County, but after seeing her get excited about the possibilities the county offers to tourists as well as residents, I was almost embarrassed to admit that. Also, I’m hoping to move here soon.
Another story I covered that I may not have in times past was a luncheon at Baird Grove Missionary Baptist Church. I usually go to the Rotary Club on Tuesday afternoons, but since there wasn’t anyone else free to cover the luncheon, I went.
I was nervous being in a new place to meet new people, but around five minutes into the luncheon I realized these were some of the nicest people I’d met in my whole time here. I felt like I was another member of the church welcomed in with open arms. To anyone considering attending one of their fellowship luncheons, I would highly recommend it.
Lastly, I talked to Beth Petty and Angie Ballard with the Lebanon Special School District’s Neon bus program. If you ever want to be impressed with the work ethic of anyone, talk to any member of the team of the Neon bus team.
Last year, they served more than 7,000 lunches to children under the age of 18. This year, they decided that wasn’t enough, so they got a whole new bus along with the original one and now have the goal of 10,000 lunches, all for free.
Petty and Ballard talked a lot about how they could do more and how excited they are about what they’re currently doing.
What I’m going about saying in a sort of long-winded way is it’s an exciting time to be in Wilson County, or WilCo as Nichols has branded it.
Yes, there is a lot of change coming, and change can be scary, but Wilson County has some wonderful people in the right places to make sure the change the county sees is a positive one.
I’m excited to be a part of it.
Jacob Smith is a staff writer for The Democrat. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @wilsonnewsroom.