A few weeks ago I attended
a conference for rural electric cooperative directors. Their agenda was
filled with topics addressing current industry trends.
These elected directors were
men and women with reputations as progressive and aggressive community
builders. They built a consumer-owned electric cooperative system that
some said couldnt be built. And, through the years they have fought
successfully against those who would tear it down.
An evening dinner was included in the conference schedule. After dinner
we were treated to a program that ended with a thought provoking poem.
I will share a part of that poem with you as I think it is forever relevant.
I saw them
tearing a building down,
A team of men in my hometown.
With a heave and a ho and a yes, yes yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.
And I said to the foreman,
Are these men skilled?
Like the ones youd use if you had to build?
And he laughed and said,
Oh no, indeed
The most common labor is all I need,
for I can destroy in a day or two
what takes a builder many years to do.
The speaker that night was
a young man from rural northwest Missouri. He went on to tell his audience
that in his short lifetime he had observed both those who build and those
who tear down. He was, everyone understood, talking about a lot more than
He asked each of us to reflect
on the broad meaning of the poem and think about how those we work with
might describe each of us. During
the short time the young man was with us, he gave us some pretty heavy
stuff to ponder. As he closed, he encouraged us to think about the deep
meaning of the poem each day.
Reprinting this short poem
in my column gives me an opportunity to thank our community builders for
the very important contributions they make.
We truly do appreciate your
very important and continuing efforts to improve our great state. Thank
you and keep up the good work.
Stork was executive
vice president of the Association of Missouri
Electric Cooperatives and a member of Three Rivers Electric Co-op.