I became a first-time grandfather last September to a tiny cutie named Ella. Her entry into this world was supposed to be in November. Her first three weeks were spent in a neonatal intensive care unit. Seeing her fighting to thrive in this world was quite an emotional ordeal.
When I see Ella’s smiling face, it gives me warm, fuzzy feelings. If you have children and grandchildren, you know what I mean. But it also makes me think about what our children will face in the coming decades.
What happens if, collectively, we don’t get our act together? The path we’re on is unsustainable. But solutions are at hand, and they bring economic opportunity together with challenges.
And if the Ella’s of our world are to thrive in peace, health, and prosperity, things need to change. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you in the last two years. You have been engaged in this fight a long time.
You are pioneers in the sustainable and organic movements. Believers in social and economic change to generate a vibrant middle class and a world where rural communities are treated fairly and strengthened. You are folks who know deep down that we’re in this together, and so will be our children, grandchildren, and beyond.
It’s up to those of us who hold these values to carry the fight. The Center for Rural Affairs is your voice. Together we’re gaining momentum. Some of the issues we talk about are distinctly rural. Yet the underlying values transcend such labels. Together we’ll build a better future for rural America and for coming generations like Ella’s.
Hank is the Center's Director of Donor Relations and Major Gift Development.