Wednesday, March 13 marked a pretty important milestone in my life.
It was my 13-year anniversary of being a reporter at The Nashville Graphic.
It doesn't seem quite that long (most days anyway!).
That's 13 years of covering board meetings, 13 years of covering Nash County Relay for Life, Nashville's Blooming Festival and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce's Distinguished Citizen event, plus dozens more events!
When I first covered the event, I didn't know a lot of people in town. I didn't realize the important role these "distinguished citizens" have in making Nashville the great place it is.
Of course, after 13 years of covering the community, I've seen firsthand many of these people's contributions. Many of these people I know personally; some I am thankful to call friends.
AJ Lytton was recognized with the Junior Achievement Award last week at the Chamber's annual event.
I first met AJ when he was a little boy and I've watched him grow into the young man he is today. Even though it makes me feel kinda old to see these youth growing up, it also makes me feel a sense of pride to see young people grow into young adults that give back to their communities.
Of course, children usually learn to give back from their parents and AJ's mom has been an excellent example. She has always been involved in her church and I can name several other organizations she has helped with over the years.
Anne Freeman was named the Distinguished Citizen for 2019.
There's no doubt she's deserving of the award.
I know Ms. Freeman as a fairly quiet person but I also know that she's one of those quiet people that when they speak, you better listen!
That was definitely the case last year when she stepped up to the podium at a Nashville Town Council meeting to speak to the council about the leadership of our town at the time. Ms. Freeman said what so many citizens were thinking and she is probably the reason action was finally taken!
But that's certainly just a tiny thing in the grand scheme of all she does for the Nashville community.
I knew she was someone that gave back to her community but I had no idea how much until she was presented the Distinguished Citizen Award.
As her son-in-law Brian Hassell said, Ms. Freeman is definitely a Matthew 6:3 person. ("But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.") She is not one to boast, brag or bring any attention to the good deeds she does. She just does them because they need to be done.
Nashville definitely is the amazing town it is because of the work of people like Anne Freeman and the many other "distinguished citizens" of Nashville.
Those citizens are part of the reason people like me choose to stay and raise their families here!!
It is my goal in life to be just like Ms. Freeman, to love my community so much that I choose to give back and help make it an ever better place to live, work and play!