Kurt GarnerThis time of year is always ripe with reflection and gratitude.  I first want to express my sincere appreciation to the public for permitting me to serve you over the last four years as commissioner.  It’s an honor to be part of the democratic system of representational government and a sacred trust upon which governments stand or fall.

We find that we are at our very best when we stand together.  This was demonstrated during the historic flooding almost a year ago.  Character and strength are revealed when concern for others outweighs status, title, boundaries, socio-economic standing, age, race, or harboring of pride or control.  And particularly when it outweighs party affiliation, which I’ve drawn the ire of political leaders in so doing.  In neighborhoods, communities, and our county, we accomplish greater things only when we value each other equally.  We can be stellar only when we all have a seat at the table.

My work, both professionally and as part of the network of Indiana Byways, places me shoulder to shoulder in communities across the Hoosier State, and this I can testify to without reservation-those communities who are succeeding do not recognize boundaries.  And they certainly do not grasp at control, instead they optimistically pass the reins onto the next generation.  At 50, even I recognize that it’s time to entrust the next generation with the reins.  Successful communities demonstrate this in both word and deed.

Marshall County is certainly not the place it was when I came back to Plymouth a quarter century ago.  And serving is vastly different than it was when I was on Plymouth Council.  We’ve prided ourselves at being forward thinking and innovative, but that changes so quickly that we need to be sure that voices speak to this from all walks of life, and most importantly, from the generation that already should be holding the reins.  When ideas or leaders come before us that put people before politics, that forge a better community for us all, we need to be quick to embrace this or run the risk of losing it, forever.  I’ve witnessed too many lost opportunities withered from outdated or me-only thinking.

I point back to the Flood of 2018 when I say I know we have it in us to reach for better, to demonstrate character and strength unmatchable in our state if we commit to each other in honesty, hard work, and compassion.  I know this because it was in full demonstration on the sand-bagging hills.

God bless you all, let the light of Christ, our servant-model, shine upon you and bring us peace in 2019.