CITIZEN OF THE MONTH – SELECTED BY COUNCIL MEMBER WOODY AYERS: Council Member Woody Ayers selected the Citizen of the Month for February
Council Member Ayers advised that, when he was considering whom to pick for Citizen of the Month, he thought it was important to have a reminder of what it means to be a citizen. Council Member Ayers reported that Webster’s Dictionary offers two definitions for citizen:
a. Membership in a community (such as a college)
b. The quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community.
Council Member Ayers stated that he read a quote from Melissa Harris-Perry, stating the following: “Citizenship is more than an individual exchange of freedoms for rights. It is also membership in a body politic, a nation, and a community. To be deemed fair, a system must offer its citizens equal opportunities for public recognition, and groups cannot systematically suffer from misrecognition in the form of stereotype and stigma.”
Council Member Ayers said that, in a Church service the prior Sunday, he heard the Reverend Dr. Jeff Aiken speak from Nehemiah, giving a message that seems relevant to this award: “Sometimes we assume that someone else will assume the major burdens. Someone else will demonstrate key convictions, someone else will run for office, someone else will take care of the disabled children, someone else will help the poor, someone else will help build the community. Let us not forget that what we do not value will not be valued, and that what we do not do just may not get done.”
Council Member Ayers advised that Citizens of the Month selected by the Mayor and Council Members do not assume any of these things. He reported that this month’s Citizen of the Month, Ginger Webb, demonstrates key convictions and makes efforts that help the less fortunate and the children. Ms. Webb works hard every day for build a better community. Council Member Ayers noted that Ms. Webb is a third generation Marion Citizen of the Month, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Brady Brooks, who was selected in 2000, and her mother, Becky Brooks Young, who was chosen in 2010.
Council Member Ayers stated that Ms. Webb is a McDowell county native. She has completed trainings in Racial Equity, Conflict Mediation and Facilitation. Recently, Ms. Webb was selected to participate in a Community Leadership Essentials Training hosted by the Center for Creative Leadership.
Council Member Ayers said that Ms. Webb is the Coordinator for the Community Engagement Project and finds her passion in community development and advocacy for residents. She has been an integral part of the West Marion, Marion East and Old Fort Community Forums. These forums, among many things, have led to the establishment of McDowell County Transit that the City Council learned more about at their January 15 meeting. Council Member Ayers suggested that improvements like McDowell County Transit would not exist in our County today without being initiated and facilitated from the forums. He advised that Ms. Webb and others in these forums have united the community in a way that he had never seen before and led citizens to take on ownership and responsibility to make their communities the best that they can be.
Council Member Ayers reported that, however, these efforts do not come without sacrifices, most significant of those is time, including time away from loved ones. Council Member Ayers stated that Ms. Webb believes that this “response to membership in a community” will pay off not only for those loved ones that she loses time with, but for many of the community’s adults, children, and children’s children. As Ms. Webb and others give to the community, it inspires further generations to do so also, just as is exemplified in this third generation Citizen of the Month.
Mayor Pro Tem Martin, Council Members, family and friends all shared kind words about Ms. Webb and congratulated her on being selected as Citizen of the Month.