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People help make Brewton unforgettable

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
The old saying "You don't know what you've got until it's gone" is certainly something in which we all can relate to in some form or fashion. I have found it to be especially true when I've happened upon one of life's crossroads. About one month ago, my family and I decided which fork to take in our latest crossroad and, while I'm excited about new opportunities, I find myself considering all of the great things and people that have been part of my life over the last three years that I have lived in Escambia County.
This week marks my last with The Brewton Standard. Sometime last year, my wife and I decided that we would like to live closer to our own families and return to north Alabama. When my wife became unemployed several months ago it offered us the perfect opportunity to go for it.
There is no doubt that while I packed up my belongings and prepared to drive out of town, I thought a lot about all of the great qualities that Brewton has to offer. It is no embellishment to say that this is a wonderful community that offers its residents a quality of life almost unmatched by other cities of its size.
One of the first things I think about is the opportunities that are provided for local children. The Brewton Area YMCA is something that many local residents take for granted. The facility and the programs it offers - both for children and adults - are unheard of in most small towns. Children here can participate in a number of activities throughout their youth. In providing these programs, the YMCA is playing an active role in providing this area with youth that will grow to become good students, outstanding athletes and responsible adults.
I also consider the economic future of this community. With a new 175-job call center moving to the area and the city participating in the Alabama Communities of Excellence program, Brewton is ripe for an economic boost. While there are a few disadvantages this community must overcome, such as flooding and access to the interstate, this is still the type of community that many businesses and companies would like to call home. It's just a matter of getting the word out and letting them know about Brewton.
Another great thing about this area is the people. There is a sense of community here that other places only talk about. Whenever there is a job to get done or a neighbor in need, it seems there is some group or individual ready to take up the cause and see it through to a successful conclusion. Whether it is raising money for United Way, cancer research or heart disease, most local residents are ready to give. I have also seen people give whatever they can for those who lost their homes to fire. The recent fundraiser sponsored by the graduating class of 1965 to purchase a lift van for Phyllis Ball is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. This sense of community does not exist everywhere and this area is stronger because of it.
The truth is, I don't have enough space here to write about all of the great things there is to know about the Brewton area. The underlying theme of each asset this community possesses is the people that make the community work.
While I have only been here a short time, my line of work has allowed me the opportunity to get to know many people on both a professional and personal level. To all of the people who have opened their doors to me - whether it is a government official, someone who obtained an achievement or those with a special story - I want to thank you.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank all of my teammates at The Brewton Standard for always being willing to step up and help out. While we sometimes make mistakes, the truth is the entire staff works hard to put out a quality newspaper and I have appreciated having them on my team for almost two years.
Of course, Brewton will always have a special place in my heart. This is the place where I learned I would be a father and my son, Samuel, was born right here at D.W. McMillan Hospital. For me, Brewton will forever be associated with one of the most happy times of my life and will never be replaced on my personal list of the greatest small towns in America.
robert.blankenship@brewtonstandard.com