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Last updateSat, 21 Mar 2015 3pm

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Time to step up …

Isn’t it amazing what can be accomplished when we work together and we step up to the challenge? And isn’t it satisfying and frankly, fun when we do?
In the last few months a school bond was passed to build a better future for generations of Gladewater kiddoes. And, a facility for emotionally disturbed boys was blocked when the owners could not address questions of security, educational responsibility or care. Those were big, good things, but life is lived in the small moments and tasks, and in day-to-day duty.
Some folks are constantly looking for ways to make this corner of small town East Texas a better place. Some folks realistically see what needs to be improved and how to build on strengths and shore up weaknesses. They are my role models.
Unfortunately, some folks can only see what is wrong and what is broken. There are naysayers and cafe critics who voice loudly and often what is wrong without leaving the comfort of their chair. Then there are those folks who are more concerned about who gets the title or the credit than getting things done. 
Dang it! Human nature is such a pain, sometimes yours, and yes I confess, sometimes mine. Often we get in the way of getting things done, or done right anyway.
Every year we look forward to a new year and a fresh start. If we are an observant Christian we may start a symbolic or real spiritual makeover on Ash Wednesday with 40 Lenten days to try and improve ourselves by Resurrection Sunday.
But the real truth is we have chances to begin again day-by-day and even minute-by-minute. Fresh starts, new beginnings, chances to make a difference. So where do we start? 
How about bringing some peanut butter by Manna House or the Gladewater Mirror for those family food boxes? 
Have you thought about joining the good folks doing good deeds in the Lions’ Club or Rotary Club? They do so many wonderful things that most of us don’t know anything about. They need your ideas and elbow grease to grow those good deeds.
What about those folks with the Gladewater Round-up Rodeo or Gusher Days? They always need volunteers. And, while we are at it, do you come out and support both of these events as well as the fall Arts & Crafts Festival? What about the downtown Christmas season Open House kickoff? Are you curbside at parades?
Are you a Gladewater supporter and booster, or just a critic?
What about the Gladewater Antique District Association? If you haven’t joined or have let your membership lapse, now is a great time to get back on the bandwagon of selling and celebrating downtown. And while we are at it, do you SHOP LOCAL as much as possible? Well, do you? Before you make that run to ‘you know where’, check your list and buy what you can right here at home. We have a variety of homegrown businesses to meet most of our needs.
Are you a member or supporter of the Gladewater Museum? Friends of the Library? Garden Club? Those organizations do some pretty wonderful things. And how about the Gladewater Ministerial Alliance? Their good deeds are often behind the scenes volunteering and shoring up community ministries that touch many, many lives every single day.
Have you thought about volunteering? Meals on Wheels, Manna House and the Clothes Closet desperately need volunteers. Immediately, right now.
 Are you recycling? Not many small town citizens have the opportunity to contain their environmental footprint. And folks, we do. So, are you? Recycling? Do you pick up trash when you see it? Do you keep your yards looking nice and the brush hauled off? A little pride goes a long way to creating a positive image for our town.
Little daily acts can collectively make a huge difference in our community.
If you need a jumpstart all you need to do is read our “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” section almost every week and you will see opportunities to make a difference, to make Gladewater a better place. There are so many servant hearts out there in this wonderful corner of the world and I am betting that one of them is yours.
Oh, and one more thing, cue my ‘teacher voice’, DO NOT COMPLAIN IF YOU AREN’T GOING TO DO ANYTHING TO MAKE IT BETTER! And no, asking hard questions and ensuring accountability is not the same thing as complaining. You know the difference.
And that is what this is about, making a difference. Right here, right now.
So come on neighbor, time to step up.

Delbert Burlison - Citizen Servant

Delbert Burlison was the epitome of the phrase ‘citizen-servant’. City Councilman, Friend of the Library, environmentalist, problem solver, caring husband and father, and so much more than we realized just last week.

Mr. Delbert asked the hard questions when others didn’t. He looked at all the angles and questioned the way things were done in the attempt to make them better or to shine the light in corners he thought needed greater transparency.

He knew his time was limited. So did we. But none of us thought we would lose him this soon. He was preparing to leave. He didn’t want to leave unfinished business, so he had been talking to different people to fill the positions and needs which he did seemingly effortlessly.

Last Monday night the Friends of the Library hosted their spring Meet the Author, and although severe storms were on the way, Mr. Delbert and Miss Judy were at Lee Library graciously greeting our guest author and those in attendance. The storm hit with a vengeance and yet, the ever independent Delbert Burlison drove home in spite of the torrential rain.

He expressed his concerns, as has Judy, that the Friends of the Library not dissolve. I promised it would not. I am sure, there are many folks around town who had received similar directives so that his and Judy’s projects, work and plans for Gladewater’s continued growth and success would continue.

And it must. That will be his legacy and our responsibility. Ask questions, solve problems and shine light. And do the work tirelessly. It is sort of a ‘recycling’ of Delbert and Judy Burlison’s service.

Delbert would like that. He would like that very much indeed.