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The One Percent Solution

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Recently, I read with great interest Larry’s article “A Piece of Local Heritage (For Me)”, describing his memories of the International Mining & Manufacturing Festival, and how vibrant Harrison County used to be.  I grew up in Belmont County but made numerous trips to Harrison County, both to the IMMF and to Tappan Lake.  Larry’s story brought back many fond memories of my youth.  I also realized how far the county has fallen.

I believe that Harrison County is a great place to live.  The countryside is beautiful, the air pure, and the people are great.  There is a real feeling of community here that is missing in large cities and many towns.  That said, there is plenty of room for improvement.  While the nation has been dealing with an economic recession for the last few years, Harrison County has been dealing with one for decades.  For some, trying to make a living is such a challenge that they have allowed their property and community to fall into disrepair.  Too many have lost pride in our county, as evidenced by the amount of litter along our roads.

I propose we begin to address these problems with what I call the One Percent Solution.

The One Percent Solution has two parts.  Many landowners in Harrison County have signed oil and gas leases on their property and are receiving sizable lease checks.  It’s as if there are hundreds and hundreds of mini-lottery winners in our county.  I propose that these fortunate people consider taking 1% – one dollar out of every hundred – and use it in some way to benefit the county, your community or people in it.  You will not miss that dollar, but that dollar can do great good in the county.  But wait! you may say, my lease check was for $100,000.  Do you expect me to give away $1,000??  Yes, I do!  After all, you just got $100,000!  Uncle Sam is going to take half anyway; you may as well do some good with some of it first.

I’m not talking about walking down the street, handing out $20 bills.  Well, you could do that, I guess – just give me a heads up where and when.  I’m proposing using your money thoughtfully to benefit people and the county as a whole.  Take time, consider many options and think your decision through.  Use your 1% wisely.

For example, you could donate to an established charity, like the Salvation Army.  They have a great track record for using money well.  Also, food pantries are a way of helping people with the most basic of needs – putting food in bellies.  You could put some in the collection plate of your church.

Since you are reading this on ThisIsMyCounty.com, you can find any number of fundraisers being held for worthy causes listed on this website.  They are local people raising money for local causes and would be thrilled with a donation.

Your 1% could be used to help local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, or youth sports programs.

The Dog Pound can always use a little help. Just stop by or call them to see what they need.

Another option is to create something on your own.  For example, you could help the elderly widow down the street with her heating bill.  The single mom next door might need help with groceries.  Your coworker’s kid might want to go to college but wasn’t able to snag a scholarship.  You get the idea.

Be someone’s hero.

The second part of the One Percent Solution is to use 1% of your time to improve the county and your community.  Before you roll your eyes, I’m not talking about a lot of time.  One percent of your time is a little less than two hours a week, or about eight hours per month.  Again, use your imagination.

You can spend the time picking up litter on the above-mentioned roads.  You might also help the above-mentioned elderly widow with yard work.

A group of like-minded citizens could renovate a village park, spruce up a baseball field or build a playground.

You could make the most important investment of all, spending time with a child.  Many children only have one involved parent, and sometimes that one parent isn’t that involved.  Consider mentoring a child, or getting involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters or Scouting.  Your 1% could make a world of difference to a child.

Folks, if we are going to improve our community, we are going to have to do it ourselves.  Our village governments are broke, our county government is broke, our state government is broke and our federal government is really broke.  Nobody is going to come to our rescue; we have to stand up on our own.

Many of our best and brightest high school graduates go away to college and never move back.  We need to give them a reason to return, by making our county, our communities and ourselves the best we can be.  We can make our community better by giving back to it, and the act of giving will make ourselves better citizens.  As Winston Churchill put it: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

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Larry Bertolino

Larry Bertolino

Owner at myLocalPCpro
Larry Bertolino is a 31 year old, U.S Navy Veteran and currently sitting on the board of Directors for the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, as well as Harrison County Rural Transit.
Larry Bertolino
Larry Bertolino

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Short URL: http://thisismycounty.com/?p=6116

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Posted by on April 19, 2011, 8:30 pm. Filed under Featured, John Lovejoy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry