Last Wednesday, March 16th, I held a press conference at my Grove Oak Store for former Buck’s Pocket Park Manager to express his concern over the state of Alabama’s park system, and management.
I’ve been following this particular issue since April of 2015 when I spoke to the Governor at a town hall meeting concerning threats of Buck’s Pocket State Park’s closure. Governor Bentley did promise while speaking to me privately that the park would remain open. Here it is almost a year later and Buck’s Pocket State Park, whom I write about my connection to the mountainous region and terrain in my autobiography, “Telling Hands” is closed with no reopening date as of now.
The governor of a state, in my mind, should be a leader. He should be our leader, representing us just like we voted for him to do. There is not one person I know, no matter the political affiliation, that would like to see Alabama the Beautiful’s State Parks Close. If the state needs to make cuts, in my opinion, they need to start in Montgomery with their own salaries.
Meanwhile, during the last year whilst I have been fighting the state over my beloved hometown park, I have reopened the only decade long closed store near by and we are thriving. I stated publically that they may end up closing the park after all, but they would not close me down. And they haven’t.
After the press conference I called and facilitated in order to ensure Former Park Manager Bruce Aldridge’s voice be heard, one of the on-scene reporters presented me with a plaque; an award for being part of the 2016 DeKalb’s Top 40 for my leadership, service and commitment to progress in DeKalb County, AL.
So, I’m honored. I’m excited. It feels really good to be noticed and appreciated. I strive to be the kind of leader I wish I had working for my interests. A real leader, a small town, work with busted knuckles and too little pay leader: not the stuffy, look down your nose out-of-touch people that all too often gets called a leader simply because they hold a position of power.
I couldn’t be prouder. When I thought about this post, and whether or not it would be a good idea to even talk about the governor of the state of Alabama in amongst the other things that led to me receiving such an award, I barely even blinked. I think its what a leader would do.
Three Stories and Some Poems by Jamie Godwin