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I don’t get to spend much time in the place I call home anymore, so I’m always envious of people who have a sense of belonging attached to the place their minds, hearts and bodies reside. Over the summer I realized Oldham County residents embody the feeling of pride and belief in the sense of community I long for.
Having spent a good deal of time in Louisville, I’ve heard all of the stereotypes and preconceived notions about Oldham County — none of which are necessarily bad, but most of these assumptions only focus on the idea that the county is full of wealth. Sure wealthy people live within the county’s borders but it’s not the wealth that makes it special.
When you go to bigger cities, people often scoff at small towns and the belief that living somewhere you’re entire life is a bad thing. But it’s the small town mentality that takes ownership when there is a wage tax or zoning threatens to infringe on residents rights. Big cities can learn a lot from the small town perspective that cares about what happens within the community, something evident in La Grange, Prospect, Crestwood and all of the other towns within the county.
You can find people in larger cities that care, but very few have the same love and connection to their hometown and the local community in a way as evident as the turnout for Oldham County Day or for the county fair.
Over the summer I got a chance to get to know the county through covering just about everything that happened locally, including photographing recent graduates, talking to local businesspeople, following city government and covering crime. Through this I was able to see the true face of the county. Like all places it’s not perfect, but the good far outweighs the bad especially when it comes to the genuine decency people here display. (I’ve never had a better experience at a Ken Towery’s as I had in La Grange. I’m tempted to have all of my car’s servicing needs handled at that location.)
This summer was a great opportunity for which I’ll probably be eternally grateful. Not only was my internship a great learning experience from a journalism perspective, it was beneficial in showing me just how much people care about their news and renewing the desire to pursue the career in the future.
I’m thankful for the kindness shown by county residents at every juncture, the amazing staff at the Oldham Era and to the Kentucky Press Association for allowing the opportunity to gain a higher level of journalism experience. Beyond that, I’m happy to have been able to experience a genuine community dedicated to growth and protecting what matters the most.
Wesley Robinson is a journalism senior at Eastern Kentucky University where he is the editor of The Eastern Progress. He recently ended a summer internship at the Oldham Era. He will be missed. Best of luck!