I listened, along with my colleagues on the Cabell County School Board and with many of you, to the June 11 press conference announcing the school bond initiative, the culmination of a year-plus of broad-based community effort. The bond proposal is a positive testament to the future of our county and offers a powerful financial stimulus to assure that future.
While this bond addresses the common good for all of Cabell County, I want to take this time to re-emphasize something said by Superintendent Saxe in his opening remarks: One of the goals that drove this proposal was no consolidation. We on the board recognized, and the communities we serve confirmed, that community schools are the center of the social fabric that unites these neighborhoods. We cannot just maintain but must continuously improve and nurture these schools and in doing so keep communities healthy and able to prosper. It is a demand of fairness, a requirement of equity and a common sense belief that all our schools be their best so that each student in Cabell County receives the finest education we can offer.
If this bond passes, we can accomplish that goal. We can leave schools within their respective communities and assure that they are excellent schools.
Thanking some unsung heroes
There is a group of workers who have continued to report to work during the COVID-19 pandemic that we have not heard much about. They were designated as essential personnel by the Department of Homeland Security, and we all rely on and enjoy the benefits of their labor all day, every day. I am referring to utility field personnel. I would like to take the opportunity in this column to recognize and thank them for their sacrifices, service and contributions.
We have all heard of, and probably participated in, the many great gestures thanking the essential workers who keep our lives running, including truck drivers, delivery people, grocery and pharmacy workers, sanitation workers and, of course, our dedicated doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. But I believe our utility field personnel deserve some special recognition and praise as well.
We can take hot showers and flush our toilets because the water is running. We are able to heat our homes and cook our meals because the gas is flowing. We are able to work from our air conditioned houses, watch TV, and use our electronic devices because the electricity is on. And we are able to use our phones because of the phone lines. We can keep our families comfortable, fed, and working because of the hidden utility workers that keep these services on line and running.
The field employees of our utility companies who are running the natural gas compressor stations, the water and wastewater plants, maintaining and clearing the electric and cable lines and performing many other jobs have not had the luxury of working from home during this pandemic. They are out there; often in close proximity to people they don’t know.
We tend to forget about these essential workers. Each and every one of them that leaves their home every day to make sure our utility services are working are unsung heroes that deserve the same “thank yous” as grocery workers and truck drivers. Worldwide pandemic or not, we still need them to investigate the smell of gas, fix water and sewer leaks and make sure the lights work, ensuring the safety and comfort of the rest of us who can stay home and be safe.
West Virginia Public Service Commission