PUBLISHER: Community is more than a word

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By Tony Cotten

Community is a word too often thrown around without much thought to its meaning in regard to the human element it connects.
NBC television launched a sitcom called “Community” to parody the humor of small town America and the typecast personalities often found among elected officials, neighbors and local businesses.
It seems to me that the rest of the fast-moving “big world” defines community as a thing of lore or of some black and white rerun of a fictional Mayberry.
However, community does exist and its power looms strong among some neighborhoods and towns and weak in others.
I’ve always felt that being part of a newspaper allows me to help connect the community our paper serves. It’s an exciting time in Oldham County because many changes are occurring.
People are connecting to create festivals and celebrations that, for many big cities, are just a part of their history and a recall of how things use to be.
In Oldham County, the recent Crestwood Festival showed strength in bringing families and business to a common entertaining event. South Oldham Lions Club members worked to serve their guests in their bright yellow vests and kids were laughing and music playing. It felt safe and good to know that this wrinkle of America still can prevail over the internet and the too busy world of cell phones and sports.
Likewise, other events this year, such as Oldham County Day, the Fourth of July Celebration, the fair as well as upcoming events such as Celebration of Women, the La Grange Train Festival and Light Up La Grange create energy and positive movement that Oldham County can move into a world of fast change yet retain a charm that is a local community.
I know first-hand that charm exists. Earlier this summer, just a few weeks after hearing the diagnosis, I wrote about my struggle with cancer.
This community gave me an outpouring of support by letters, emails, gentle hugs and words that have helped me in my fight.
People I have yet to meet face-to-face have reached out to me. It has been as  surprising as it is relieving.
Only in a true community of churches, local businesses and caring acquaintances and neighbors could one person’s plight be acknowledged, cared and prayed for as much as I have received.
I know the thoughts and prayers have not been conveyed for recognition, but instead from a true place of caring.
At the end of my day I think of the many people that make up our community and I realize I am in the right place — a place with many caring individuals that embrace their community, even those that just months ago were strangers.
Thank you.

Tony Cotten is publisher of The Oldham Era. He can be reached by email at
publisher@oldhamera.com or (502) 222-7183.