(Wenatchee, WA) This time of year, when our schools prepare to offer their levy requests for our consideration, always brings back a flood of memories. Born and raised on a wheat and dairy farm in Eastern Washington, this time of year always meant rising early on snowy mornings to milk the cows – and rounding them up once again just prior to dark on those short winter days.
But it also brings back memories about school election days. You see, it is important to note that both my father and my grandfather were deeply committed to civic responsibility in their community and country. It was in the early 1900s that my grandfather donated land and, with the help of neighbors, built a school house nearby…it was one of their first accomplishments upon arrival in the northwest. It was a typical one-room school house where my Dad would attend school through the eighth grade…I would find out later in life that my grandfather went on to serve on the school board of that new school.
I learned about this commitment to civic responsibility at a very young age as I remember vividly my Dad would remind me, “There’s a school election today, we’ll need to be done milking early.” Over the years, I would come to know that voting was one of my father’s most important responsibilities…one that he took very seriously.
It was a scene repeated many times, as we would race to the Township Hall where voting always took place. Many times we would arrive just before the 8 pm closing of the polls. I would stand in line beside my dad waiting to vote, still in coveralls and barn boots… much to the chagrin of the poll workers I’m sure!
I inquired one time while racing to the township hall, “why” he felt it so important to vote? His answer was simple. While he had not served in the military himself, he shared, “Many friends have given a great deal so that we would always have this right to vote.” And besides, he added, “Someone paid for us…someone who felt it important to pay ahead, to make an investment in the future, to make sure that we had a school to attend, that we too would have a full-measure of opportunity. Voting is my way of honoring their investment in me and, in turn, doing the same for you and those who are yet to come.”
Making an investment in tomorrow…a message that I worry is sometimes forgotten today. You see, the other message Dad would always share was a pointed reminder that “At the end of the day, all we really leave behind are our children…when you really think about it, it’s the only real investment that we make.”
As election day once again approaches, the memories come flooding back…like rushing in that old truck to make it just before the polls closed. You see, it was just that important…and it still is today.
“All we leave behind are our children”…a pretty powerful reminder as we go to the polls in the next few days to once again make our investment. Consider it a reminder, courtesy of my Dad… in spite of that old truck, those cows, and those cold early mornings, I think he had it figured out.
I hope you’ll join me in once again voting to secure our investment in tomorrow.
Submitted by Rich McBride, Superintendent of North Central Educational Service District