To the point week of 12-4-08

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THIS COMMUNITY HAS BEEN devastated by death over the past few weeks; and although all passings are painful to family and friends left behind, two in particular speak to the fabric of our community.

Jack Sullivan’s passing leaves a huge hole in this county. Although he was not active in many of his ventures anymore, his work with the Vevay-Switzerland County Foundation and the Paul Ogle Foundation helped to provide economic stimulus to this community long before anyone ever thought of a riverboat casino complex east of the Markland Dam.

He worked to help lure the U.S. Shoe Corporation here. The Randall-Textron Corporation, too. When it was determined that our children needed a new high school, he served on that committee, also.

He’s worked on the county health board; helped develop and oversee Switzer Square; and was an important part of the spiritual aspect of this community through his church.

On page two of today’s issue you can read more about this remarkable man; but there is also a note of sadness because in recent years some of you may not know the extent of his community service.

What you should know is that Jack Sullivan and others like him are fading from our community view; and we need to stand back and see their contributions and recognize those contributions before they disappear.

Men and women like Jack Sullivan worked to shape a future for this county when many didn’t see one at all. Although the shoe factory and Randall aren’t here anymore, there are many county residents who got their start in one of those factories, and made a comfortable living for their families from them.

The Ogle Haus stands on the west side of Vevay in part because of the contributions of Jack Sullivan in working with Paul Ogle and later his foundation to see that dream become a reality.

We have the Switzerland County Natural Gas Company and our senior citizens center because Jack Sullivan helped to create them and fund them; and when you visit the Paul Ogle Riverfront Park please remember that one of our community’s crown jewels exists on the riverfront because of foundation money that Jack Sullivan helped bring here.

Yes, there is the Jack Sullivan Senior Citizens Center; but that honor was a condition placed by the board members of the Paul Ogle Foundation – which Jack himself had nothing to do with.

Most all of the things that Jack helped to bring here through his work with Paul Ogle honor Mr. Ogle – not Jack Sullivan.

This community also pauses to honor the unexpected passing of Johnny Andrew.

I won’t ever see a kid’s pedal tractor pull – here or elsewhere – that I won’t think of Johnny, walking along beside the little tractor, cheering on the child in the driver’s seat. No one was ever a loser when it came to pedal pulls, because Johnny Andrew always made each child feel as if they were a winner – even when the tape measure didn’t say so.

You won’t find may photos of Johnny Andrew getting all sorts of awards and accolades for donating his time to provide our young people with some fun; because he did it for them – not for himself.

If we need to learn something from the passing of these two wonderful men, it is that service to this community shouldn’t come with conditions – it should come with residency.

In a time when everyone wants to know “what’s in it for me?” and many choose to take on community tasks for their own glory and the admiration of others; I believe that this community is losing something very precious as men like Johnny Andrew and Jack Sullivan leave us.

True community service only comes when people choose to put themselves behind the concept in which they believe. As long as everyone is just in it for themselves, nothing will ever truly move all of us collectively, forward.

I will miss Johnny Andrew and Jack Sullivan.

This community will miss them more.