Neal Trust helped community

Published 8:46 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I am writing in response to at least two different subjects that the Brewton Standard has covered with front page articles recently. These articles are both embarrassing and shameful for our community. The Neal family and the Neal Trust did not ask me to defend them nor do they need me to do that. Over the past years, probably over a half century, the W T Neal Trust has generously provided millions of dollars to our community allowing our citizens to have opportunities that most communities could only dream of having.
A few months ago the Brewton Standard blamed the closing of the animal shelter on the Neal Trust. If the citizens of Brewton did not care to fund the animal shelter, we could only credit the Neal Trust for us ever having one. It surely is not the Neal’s fault that the other citizens are not as generous as they have been. We should thank the Neals that we ever were able to have an animal shelter.
Last week’s issue blamed the Neal family for our students not getting college credit courses without charge. What would our education systems look like without the prior generosity of the Neal Trust? I do not even like to consider that. I would venture to guess that the educations of most of the writers of this paper were greatly assisted by that very generosity.
Kudos to Becky Edge for getting it right in last week’s article. She clearly understood that this was not owed to the students and that they were fortunate to have had those funds provided because most students have to pay these costs themselves.
It is time we start addressing this “entitlement mindset”. We are not owed anything. If someone does something good for you, say “thank you” not “is that all you can do.” The article last Saturday told our students that they were entitled to free education. There is no free education. If you are not paying for it, someone else is. If they stop paying, do not get mad at them. Thank them for what they did.
According to the article, those six hours of college credit will cost the students $760 dollars. Trust me, it cost the taypayers a great deal more than $760 for the student to get those six hours. If the course is not worth $760, I would encourage them not to enroll. When you put your money in the game, the game is much more important to you. You will study harder, retain more, and become a better student.
Considering the financial condition of our country and many of our individual citizens, we are all going to be required to pay for things that someone else used to pay for. Students, today is the day to start being responsible. If it is worth having, it is worth paying for.
If you cannot afford something, save until you can. You will appreciate life so much more. With your bought and paid for education, maybe one day you will be able to set up a trust like the Neal Trust and be able to provide for someone else.
This is a great time to be alive. Enjoy it, do not take it for granted, and be grateful if someone helps you along the way.

W Earl Cooper