A sense of community

As many of your know I moved to rural South Dakota a few years ago from a very congested and expensive part of the eastern seaboard.  I did it for mental health and economic reasons.  Not that I was mentally deficient but living in that rat race will drive anyone nuts eventually.

What I want to talk about today is something that does not exist in that fast paced, over crowded and over stressed world.  That is a sense of community. Being part of a greater whole.

I want to talk about place most people would consider the small town, Huron South Dakota.  Not the town specifically, the community.  This town has a population of around 14,000 and is the biggest town for 50 miles in any direction.

In this town is a private school.  That school is James Valley Christian School.  This school is something special.  Why?  Because it actually provides a superior quality Christian based education?  It does, but that is not what makes it special.  What makes it special is the community that supports it.

In 1997 this school was destroyed by a massive flood.  You may remember 1997 and the news stories and video showing the miles and miles of the Midwest under water.  Well…. James Valley Christian School was one of the places lost to the flood.  The community did not let their institution die.  They chose a new place on higher ground and built a brand new facility for the school.  Now for a small community this was a major undertaking.  This is not a wealthy area, most of the residents hers are middle class .  Many are formers.  Farmers who’s economic outlook changes with the weather.

Yet this community built the new multi million dollar school and paid off the mortgage in 10 years!  To me looking in as a “city boy” this is an amazing feat. I am often awed by the people here.  They work together for the good of the community and they do it as a matter of course.

Let me tell you about a tradition that goes on each Thanksgiving weekend.  The James Valley Christian School holds a fundraising auction.  The folks in the community either make or purchase items to donate to this auction.  Then these same people go the auction and bid on the things donated.  Why?  To keep the tuition down for the students.  You see ALL the money raised at the auction goes to offset the students tuition.

I go to this auction every year, this year I even donated a small item for the sale.  I go, not only to bid on items that sell for far too much money, but to watch and be part of a great community.  Each year the amount that is taken in at this auction grows.  I do not know what the total is for this year but last year it went over six figures for the first time.

I am truly thankful that I have found a sense of community in my life.  I took me 52 years to find it but I have found it here….. In Rural South Dakota.

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Published in: on November 29, 2007 at 9:17 am  Leave a Comment  

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