Over the past few days, the NC Rural Center has had to undergo considerable scrutiny by news outlets and individuals who are not fully acquainted with the work of the Center. Living in rural northeastern North Carolina is fraught with challenges of economics and rural development. The people, its places and a family heritage that keeps me overwhelmed with commitment is just the tip of points that have me hanging around; engaged, way past what others have envisioned.
However, it is my vision, and not that of others that give voice to a passion that is much bigger than me. An endearment that grabs a hold of you so securely that even when you want to back away and flee to places that take far less work with much more “things” to offer, you settle for life in a rural place with rural challenges.
Consider such inspiration at the heart of an organization, its leadership and its President, and you have the North Carolina Rural Center. When rural development tugs at the heart of local leadership, relief is not found in a pharmaceutical, but in the potential the Rural Center provides.
In my many years of being acquainted with Billy Ray Hall, first as a member of the rural North Carolina family, and then as a Rural Center board member, there is embedded deep within him, a consideration of leadership that cannot be replicated by talent alone. That consideration is a genuine love for the people of rural North Carolina, and an unyielding desire to make all of North Carolina whole.
He, as lead for the Center and its amazing staff, work hard to provide integral leadership. Together, they understand the value of all public dollars and the public trust given as stewards; helping rural communities regain balance in seasons of difficulty, is a task the Center has always taken seriously. When the economy is at its worse, the Rural Center works to be at its best. Through the years it has been the Rural Center that has been there, supported by state leaders from across and down aisles of taxpayer accountability, granting, in partnership with the Center, a voice for rural North Carolina and its communities.
My confidence in the Rural Center as advocate, championing rural develop for rural North Carolina remains high. I am hopeful that as efforts are made to better understand the work of the Center, that work includes all of its initiatives, and not just a few; a work that improves the quality of life of all of rural North Carolina.