Unity. One definition of the word at dictionary.com states: oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement. Minden exemplified this definition during the Minden St. Jude Auction.
I am amazed each year how our community comes together for this cause. Hundreds volunteer their time and resources for the effort. Businesses, organizations, and individuals all enthusiastically participate in the auction.
The “cause” unifies groups and individuals, regardless of race, status, background or other divisive factors. For these four days, we are truly “one Minden.”
The result of this unified effort speaks for itself. Each year, Minden sets a new record for giving during the auction, topping well over $1.6 million this past weekend. That’s not bad for a town of roughly 13,000 people.
The Minden St. Jude auction proves we can put our divisions aside for the right cause. It also shows we can work together when we really want to do so. Is a beautiful thing.
The evidence of the power of unity begs the questions, Why does this only happen once per year? Why can’t we have this kind of unity in other things?
To answer these questions, one needs to look again at the Minden St. Jude Auction. What began as an effort to say, “Thank you” from one father to the hospital that treated his daughter, became a sense of pride in the community, and perhaps even a little competition among participants.
The “cause” was the catalyst for everything. It inspired and motivated people to participate. As the years went by, others heard about the “cause” and were moved to action as well. But things didn’t end there.
At some point, Minden garnered the title, “Most giving per capita to St. Jude” in the nation. The sense of community pride swelled, and no one is willing to give up the title.
Competition also plays a part in the success of the auction. From friendly competitions between community groups, to the self-imposed goal of topping the previous year’s giving, Minden truly stretches itself each year.
Following this example, Minden (and all of Webster Parish) can apply this sense of unity to the cause of long-term growth and prosperity. If people and entities unify around this cause, then the other steps can take place.
However, unity is not easily attainable. Some will have to put aside personal and political preferences for the greater good of all. This is no small feat.
Education, government, and business will need to work hand-in-hand to identify deficiencies and administer solutions. Such steps have already started taking place with things like The Collaboration and Jump Start.
Over time, the hard work will produce positive results. Those results will increase community pride, much like the auction did. Once the ball is rolling, it will be easier to keep it going — and the results will spur a desire to reach higher than ever before.
Competition will also be a key factor to long-term growth and prosperity. As our community improves, it enters a new “playing field,” in competition with other communities to land the best and brightest, citizens, jobs and employers.
The future can truly be bright if we follow the example of the Minden St. Jude Auction. However, nothing will improve if we don’t start with unity.
David Specht Jr. is editor and publisher of the Minden Press-Herald.