Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

June 3, 2014

Make the decision to help

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Make the decision to help

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to Ms. Kathy Cooprider’s recent statement:

“When community was 10,000 strong in population, city managed with a mayor, council, clerk and approximately five policemen. Now with population in decline, by 1/2, city needs mayor, council, administrator, clerk, soon to be financial advisor and a multiple amount of law enforcement, some retired, some reaching retirement age.”

Ms. Cooprider is quite true in this statement. Centerville was once a successful community with able-bodied volunteers to fill these positions. A regional utility company was headquartered on Drake Avenue. A Fortune 500 plastics company was our largest employer. A local entrepreneur designed a firearm in his home shop, mass-produced it, and employed hundreds. A testament to our industrial strength, Appanoose County once had the most miles of railroad in the state of Iowa.

All of that is now gone. Rubbermaid left for Kansas City, corporate shenanigans destroyed Iowa Southern Utilities, and Knight Rifles is no longer in existence. Just like Fuller Manufacturing, the button factory on the levee, and the foundry south of town, those employers are nothing more than an exhibit at the Historical Society.

With those businesses went the pool of volunteers able to help our city. Our reserve of businessmen, philanthropists, and industrialists went with them. The corporate executives and engineers who once guided our town of their own free will and accord are gone. As a consequence, we must now hire individuals to fill these positions.

Many of us would prefer that we had an able-bodied citizenry to run our community. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many left who are able and willing. The few who could do the task often ask if it’s worth it, given the constant criticism they will face from those who do little more than complain.

If one wishes to see Centerville grow from within, one must volunteer to help. We have a number of wonderful organizations looking for volunteers. Join one of our fraternal groups, such as the Freemasons, Eagles, Rotary, or Lions Club. Volunteer with BOB or Appanoose Ecovision. Participate in a community cleanup.

Centerville can only move forward in a positive direction if we work together and take it there. I made the decision to help. Will you?

Respectfully submitted,

Rob Matherly