I believe, and I’ve often told my staff, that we’re put on this earth to make a difference in the lives of others. As a public servant, that’s what motivates me. When I look around and I see the faces of my family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors, I see so much potential. The folks who make up the First District are a powerful force for good. We can change our Commonwealth, our country, and our world, one act of generosity at a time.
Winston Churchill said that “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” I believe that. As a Boy Scout, I learned that leadership is about putting others—not yourself—first. Charity starts at home, and my first experience with public service was in the community where I was raised. I came back to Montross, VA after college, and I saw that there were needs I could work to address. For one thing, I wanted other young men to have the same opportunities and support that I’d had, so I helped re-establish a local Boy Scout troop.
That feeling of sharing and of helping others grow in the same way someone once helped you is like none other, and it is such an important part of what I do now. Watching others in service inspires me, and during the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with the selfless men and women in the First District who are giving back in their communities.
A little over a week ago, I stopped by the King Carter Golf Club Tornado Benefit, the proceeds of which went to the Tappahannock Tornado Relief Fund of the Tappahannock Rotary Club Foundation, Inc. The tragedy that natural disasters cause in our communities can be devastating, but it is heartening to see folks really pull together to help those in need. All of the donations from the Tappahannock Tornado Relief Fund are passed through to the Essex County Department of Social Services and used exclusively to benefit tornado victims. We can’t forget that there is much more work to be done to help those in need in our community.
I also had the opportunity to visit the Gloucester YMCA, an organization dedicated to “putting Christian principles in practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.” The YMCA is making a real difference in Gloucester by integrating men, women, and children with the end goal of promoting youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility to bridge gaps in the community. It’s great to see first-hand the kind of difference that the YMCA is making in Gloucester.
Last Wednesday, I visited the Boys and Girls Club of Fauquier County whose missions is “to help boys and girls of all backgrounds, especially those who need us most, build confidence, develop character, and acquire the skills needed to become productive, civic-minded, responsible adults.” The Boys and Girls Club works to help children build skills, enjoy career and academic success, and implement healthy lifestyles.
These organizations and others like them are building community bonds that can’t be broken. They are creating opportunities, giving without expectation, and raising a new generation of servant leaders. These are the folks who make me believe that our communities, and not the government, are the drivers of positive change. Thank you for the work that you do in your community. We’re making the world a better place, together.