It was nearing the end of November and the first half of my senior year of college. The semester and two jobs had left me groggy. I scrolled through my email inbox deleting the spam until I came across a subject line reading, “Nice letter in the Mirror-Sun.”
A letter-to-the-editor I had written to the Lyons Mirror-Sun newspaper had appeared that week. It was about whether or not to tear down the old opera house in my hometown. The email was from Brian Depew, Assistant Executive Director and Director of Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs. I didn’t know who he was and had only recently learned about the Center and its mission.
Brian’s email encouraged my interest in rural issues. He told me to look at the internship opportunities at the Center. Unfortunately, the opera house was torn down. But I did check into those internship opportunities.
I spent that summer in Lyons learning about rural America and seeing my hometown in a new light. My walk down the brick Main Street was filled with anticipation every day during my internship. Never before had I worked in a place where every person was so fully invested. Skip forward nearly five years later, and this is why I still work at the Center.
Not only does the Center have an admirable mission, they have admirable people working for them. They are the kind of people that advocate for a better community by working on federal policy late into the day only to rush out the door for a city council meeting.
I can summarize the Center for Rural Affairs this way: We live in rural America. We love rural America. We work to make it even better.
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