Our Duty

Our Duty
Posted on 12/04/2020

Thank you for taking time to read this article, and if you get to the end of this sentence, congratulations for exceeding the average attention span! This isn't intended to make a jab at our general society's attention span, but rather compel you to keep reading.

I generally don't get the chance to write articles that aren't related to new laws, policies or the real fun stuff; sewers. I have been reading a book that has jogged some interesting thoughts about how we can make Norwalk even better than it is. It has spurred me to think about myself and how I can be a better manager, a better dad and a better husband. Lucky for all of you I have the opportunity to share these thoughts (that is a joke). 

I have titled this article “Our Duty” because I have been thinking about government as a whole. Not just local, but all levels. I have noticed that our society is developing shorter attention spans when it comes to facts and information. I can’t claim this is a fault of social media, but maybe social media is a reflection of our general desire for quick and easy information. In other words, I am not going to blame someone else for my own faults of wanting shorter and quicker soundbites. And my intention is not focused on how to lengthen your attention span. Instead, I want to talk about how we can be better. I want to share thoughts of how people in our community have shown me how to become a better person. After all, isn't that the goal; improve ourselves.

· Mike Foss is a community leader that has taken action to improve Norwalk. He has helped shape the Hometown Pride organization while he served as the president of the local Rotary Club. These were two huge ventures of which he was a key leader among many other dedicated citizens.

· Judy Corcoran is a gem in our community. Judy has been involved in the Easter Library Board, but I believe her most notable achievement is "Front Porch Norwalk." No matter how much Norwalk grows, we can maintain our small town feel with events like Front Porch Norwalk.

· Todd Bordenaeru is a citizen that took action to mow a neighbor's lawn after the home went into foreclosure. He called the City to inform us of the issue, but he still took his own action to improve his neighborhood. Todd also regularly retrieves litter from the detention pond near his home.

· Jeff Caldwell, along with several others, started the Norwalk Community Facebook Page to help citizens communicate with each other. Yes, it has some dark times, but it is also a place where people share important things about our community.

· Bill Clark - ditch cleanup. Bill was the pastor of Christ our Saviour Church on the south side of Norwalk. Bill wanted to improve the area along Highway 28 around the Church, so he pulled together a group of volunteers to clean out the ditches. I helped too and was awarded poison ivy on my arms and legs. But I am happy I helped!

· Lions Club, Kiwanis, Rotary, Ministerial and other organizations. These organizations are civic minded and do many projects to help make our city special.

· Anyone that volunteers for a board/commission. These are thankless jobs that are crucial for the future of our community. Even as a mayor or city council member, the pay doesn't match the hard work put forth.

· Anyone that clears snow from around fire hydrants near their home. It helps the fire department respond to fires quicker, and they appreciate the help.

Thomas Jefferson scribed the phrase, "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence. There are many theories of what Jefferson meant by these words. The generally accepted belief is that he meant "happiness" as wealth. And wealth having a meaning of financial wealth. I think it meant more than that. I believe Jefferson was encouraging a deeper pursuit for Americans. I believe "happiness" means what brings a person fulfillment. One step further is the inaugural address by John F. Kennedy where he made famous the quote, "Ask not what your country can do for you..." I believe there is some semblance in that Kennedy encouraged Americans to do their duty to take action to enhance our community resulting in personal gratification. The end result is more satisfaction. 

The people and organizations I noted a couple paragraphs above are only a small number of examples of Norwalkers making Norwalk better, and in the process improved themselves. Now I am thinking, "Luke, what can you do to elevate Norwalk?" I am going to pick up that litter I notice in the gutter as I walk through my neighborhood. I am going to attend my next neighborhood gathering and get to know some new people. I am going to donate to the 100-Men of Norwalk. I am going to continue my service as a Rotarian. I am going to do better.

Will you join me in this movement and ask yourself, “what am I going to do?”

Luke Nelson, City Manager