#223. Take Charge of Your Community

Posted on | The Agurban

Take Charge of Your Community

Within the past couple of weeks, we have received two great stories from community leaders telling about the positive things happening in their hometowns. Each involves a powerful Can Do Spirit.


Estherville, IA

You spoke at our chamber banquet in Estherville, Iowa about five years ago in our new community complex.  Remember? That spirit you felt at that time is alive and well today!

Today, the national economy is in a recession.  But in Estherville, we just opened two new industries (25 new jobs), will open two new retail stores in the next few days and weeks, opened a new coffee shop and have several new business prospects.  Wow!  Sure, we’ve had some layoffs by local industries. We do our best to assist with that but we don’t let the negative dictate how we operate here.

We completed a 10-year strategic plan last year and now have more than a 100 volunteers working on the nine overall goals and 38 specific strategies identified to get us started.  We raised $100,000 in 100-days to get folks started.  In the next few years, I believe we will re-open a local downhill ski facility, develop a new ATV trails park, develop a new RV camp ground, develop a new moto-cross riding and racing facility, expand our trails system and much more.

Lyle Hevern, Mayor, 24th year


Lincoln, IL

We met several years ago when you presented in Lincoln.  I asked you the question of whether civic leadership should be driving change or if the residents and businesses should be driving change with the support of the local governments.  You suggested the latter.  Here is an example of how we have moved forward with that mindset.

Last year, 14 of the 22 churches in Lincoln came together and created an organization called Together For Lincoln (TFL).  TFL was loosely structured and was organized by approximately 40 individuals from the different churches wanting to make a positive impact on the community.  I will summarize a great, long story to create a great short story by saying we held a day of service for our community.  Just over 1,000 volunteers from our community of 15,000 pulled together on September 28th to do everything from walking the streets to pick up trash to washing windows for elderly, building new steps and handicap ramps, visiting everyone in each nursing home, fixing roofs, siding houses, winterizing homes, repairing, replacing and painting playground equipment at schools, cleaning up yards, etc.  Approximately 118 different projects were completed across the community in one day, all of which were completed at no charge to the recipient and most of which were for the less fortunate, elderly and single parent families.  Needless to say, the community was touched.  Here is a link to a video that was put together from the event.

We have recently launched another program facilitated by Together For Lincoln.  The members of TFL considered the affects of a financial disaster in our community.  Would we respond the same way as we would to a natural disaster by pulling together to help those in need?  As a result, we have facilitated a community wide program that leverages Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University curriculum to eliminating debt and building wealth in personal finances.  Based on Ramsey’s statistics as well as those who have completed the program right here in Lincoln, the average family that completes the program will eliminate approximately $5,700 in debt and put approximately $2,300 in savings in the first 91 days.  These are averages and this is not a get rich quick scheme.  The program uses very practical and common sense approaches.  But, an $8,000 positive impact to a family in huge!  Multiply that by 1,000 families and that is an $8,000,000 impact!  TFL believes this is our own local stimulus program that will have long lasting affects in the people and the community, thereby building a stronger community.

I have attached a press release as well as some links to news stories.  As small towns across America begin to think in terms of controlling their own destiny and investing in and building up their own residents, we will begin to see these grass roots movements making significant impacts in a variety of ways.

I am passionate about this and my community and I felt this was news worthy information to pass along to you.  Thank you for all you do and keep up the good work!

Feb. 27, 2009 – Lincoln Daily News


Patrick Doolin, CEO, Integrity Data


Does your community have leaders like Patrick Doolin and Lyle Hevern? Hopefully!!