July 25, 2007 Edition

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Chamber of Commerce:
then and now

Danny Gibson
Guest Writer

Why do we have a Chamber of Commerce? Why not just dissolve? What good does it do? Let's look back at some history before answering these questions.

Since the beginning, it has been necessary to have courts for control, councils for decisions of policy to live by and groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, to strive for progress and development. In looking back, it is imperative we note the progress when people band together for a common goal.

What has become apparent to me over the past 30 to 40 years is that accomplishments, such as building roads, factories and hospitals, are developed by planning and instituting those plans. Progress is a never-ending endeavor.

Please take a moment to think about the success made by our schools, churches, businesses, hospital and government. Does it seem to you that these things were built and immediately became successful? Of course not! Like a beautiful flower garden that needs weeding, fertilizing and watering, these establishments needed lots of planning and care to be successful. Business success from a huge Wal-Mart to a small bait shop has to have care, attention and labor to be profitable.

In the D. Leonard Lingo boardroom of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce building, the renovated train depot, hangs a collage of past presidents of the board. I have lived long enough to have either known personally or by business reputation every one of them. These men and women were the movers and shakers of their day. They were, and are, successful in their own business endeavors and had a strong desire to see Walnut Ridge, Hoxie and all of Lawrence County progress as well.

The goals of our past Chamber leaders were not any different than those of today's leaders. As I sit in board meetings, (frankly, wondering why I'm still on the board) I see very intelligent, hard working and dedicated people donating their time and energy to see things happen in our county. They work diligently to bring more jobs to the county, to see that highways such as 63 and 67 are completed, to help with the development of small and large businesses and to make a website available for anyone in the world to discover what Lawrence County has to offer.

In addition, board members are constantly striving to create and support tourist attractions to bring more folks into the county such as the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School Museum and the Rails to Trails project.

Board members, committee members and volunteers serve without pay. Their one goal is to donate their time and talents for the benefit of Lawrence County. Won't you help? New members are welcome! Volunteers are welcome! Visitors are welcome!

We need you!

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