My grandpa taught me at a very early age that life is much too short for a person to learn solely from his/her own mistakes. It was his way of telling me that I was (still am) a knucklehead.
"Josh, you'll be my age and mistakes are all you'll ever do. You need to pay attention to the mistakes others are making and learn from those, too," he'd say.
I've liberally applied my grandpa's advice to include the things people do correctly, too. I want to learn from those who are successful in order to find out what works. Of course, I watch fellow knuckleheads from a distance and tell myself not to follow in their footsteps, too.
As such, I'm a student of history. Since I assumed mayoral duties in April, I've looked hard at the history of Lebanon and the leaders before me. I've had plenty of food for thought.
"If I don't want to be recalled like Mayor Suchandsuch, I should probably do things differently."
Of Lebanon's past mayors, Mayor Cowan is frequently mentioned for his strong leadership locally as mayor, so I have spent countless hours learning about his accomplishments and setbacks. To any people I've spoken to who remember him, Cowan is known for leading Lebanon into a growth period, as well as his vision for the community. He was elected in 1977 and served five consecutive terms
Mayor Cowan was able to rally support in the community for the community. He received Lebanon voter support on numerous taxes, which is a testament to the support he had from citizens. The Civic Center was his original vision before he passed away, and today it sits as the envy of many other municipalities.
In my discussions with men and women around town about Mayor Cowan, I noticed most remember him as a mayor who brought people together for common community goals. That, friends, is what LOVE LEBANON is all about.
As mayor, I want to facilitate cooperation between our host of volunteers and volunteer organizations. Imagine if every willing person in our city stepped up and attacked one singular issue together! On Saturday, July 30, 2016 we attempt to do just that when we show the children in the community, and the educators/staff who instruct them in our absence, that we LOVE LEBANON and support them. On that day, we help the school district move into the new middle school.
With the help of my friend Matt Johnson, pastor at Lifepoint Church's downtown campus, LOVE LEBANON's efforts to assist the school district currently has 180 volunteers. We hope this is just the beginning of a true force for good in Lebanon. Following our efforts Saturday, we will schedule an "After Action Review" with key volunteers to learn from mistakes and chart a direction. Let's make Saturday a success.
As a side note, the middle school move is a perfect example of the need for better coordination. As LOVE LEBANON neared one hundred volunteers, we learned that Lebanon Family Church had previously committed to assisting the school district with the middle school move. Going forward, I hope to improve our communication. My hats off to Lebanon Family Church for serving the community long before I was elected mayor. In addition to Lebanon Family Church, we have representatives from Lifepoint Church, The Free Store, C.A.L.M., Hillcrest Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, and the City of Lebanon. Individual volunteers continue to sign up, including future middle school students, current high school students, city council members, and former Mayor of Lebanon Lyle Anderson.
For those who have yet to sign up, you can still help out! Look for me at the middle school at 8AM Saturday, July 30th and I'll put you to work. Alternatively, if you would like to help with the preparation and serving of food for lunch that day, Hillcrest Baptist Church has offered their kitchen at 8AM the same day.
We can't expect our town to improve unless we are all working toward that goal. Let's LOVE LEBANON.
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Mayor of Lebanon