There has been so much talk lately about what will save Hazard and Appalachia. It needs new leadership, better schools, more businesses, better infrastructure, more jobs, more industry, etc. The list is endless. Unfortunately, one of the things that is most often said in these conversations is something along the lines of, “I have watched this area decline for years, I hope and pray it gets better, but if it doesn’t I will have to leave to make a better life for my family.”
There are several key problems with this statement and all statements like it. 1.) You stood by and watched your community crumble and didn’t do anything. 2.) You hoped and prayed instead of acting. 3.) Leaving will only perpetuate the problems for those who remain.
While it may be fair to blame leadership, blame a lack of infrastructure, or blame a lack of diversified industry, blame isn’t a solution. Praying alone isn’t a solution. Hope without action is merely a fantasy.
If you want to see more jobs, open a business, or easier yet, shop locally. If you want support from the state, show them that this is an area worth supporting through writing letters, and simply staying here. If you want better schools, help the already strapped-for-cash and understaffed schools by volunteering. If you want a downtown that has value, show that you value it. Shop, eat, clean, invest in Main Street.
I am not religious, but I grew up in church and what I learned there is that God doesn’t swoop in fix a problem. He uses men and women as his hands and feet. We are his hands and feet, and we are what is going to save this town.
Want to get involved? Join InVision Hazard on Facebook, come up with an idea and just make it happen. If you are not an idea person you can still play a huge role in helping other’s ideas succeed. Towns aren’t built by roads or industries, they are built by people. Not to steal a far too often used movie quote, but if we build it, those things will come.