October 15, 2012
There are those in leadership who say, "They didn't build that" or, "they didn't do that." But this columnist says, "really?"
Some of our most productive individuals seem to fly beneath the radar screen. They are not often seen as celebrities, and their voices may not often be heard. You probably will not see them on the conference main stage or even in the front row of a meeting room. But, in many ways, they are real heroes. Unsung heroes, at that!
I am thinking of the young man who, some years back, was short on finances at the time. But, with a great work ethic and energetic drive, he came to our town from points south of here and started a family grocery store. With physical muscle, intellectual skillfulness, uncompromising integrity, and tedious work hours, he built the business into a thriving major super market. In time, the business went under new management, but the strong early underpinnings of the business remained. Today, the business has expanded, and is serving several broad geographical areas. An appreciative and satisfied clientele base of customers is a matter of record.
And then, there was a young, dedicated hard working dairy farmer, with property that had the potential, just waiting to be developed. He is a generously thoughtful individual. As a favor, he sold a load of needed top soil to a friend. With the start of the sale of that first load of top soil, the birth of a major corporation saw its emergence. And a stalwart, thriving, and productive, "Family of Companies" took shape and is now in place. Today, this dynamic corporation is a major robust, and respected asphalt products supplier, well known east of the Mississippi. What a contribution they are making.
Some years back in the mid-1930's, a young farm lad, was working for a neighboring farmer. One day, while picking cucumbers, he asked the farmer if he might put a basket out on the road side to see if he could sell some cucumbers to passing vehicles. Within the first hour, he sold all of his cucumbers that he had in his basket. Today, that site is now the location of one of the largest and best known of produce markets selling fresh vegetables, fruits, and foods. It is well known well beyond the Western New York area. There probably is not an individual in our area who has not seen evidence of this thriving business.
Speaking personally... my great grandfather bought a piece of under--developed property in the mid- 1800's. It was non-cultivated land in the Boston Hills... seventy five acres of brush, bushes, wild shrubs, stones, and scattered fallen trees. With one horse, an ax and pickaxe, shovel, crow bar, a cross cut saw, and hundreds of hours of hard work, the land was developed for agricultural cultivation. It became a most successful dairy and vegetable farm for many years thereafter. It served as the chief source of income for five generations within the family. "Yours truly" was a part of the third generation.
And continuing on the personal story line: many years ago, my in-laws purchased a thirty acre parcel of land in the Chaffee/Sardinia area. The soil was rich for agriculture but, it had not been cultivated for many years. Wise and prudent cultivation was needed. Also, the old farm house was badly in need of repair. My father-in-law was skilled in carpentry as well as in agriculture. With hammer, saw, nails, hard work, and ingenuity, (he had no power tools in that day) he brought life back into the structure, and a most comfortable family farm house was creatively re-developed. The same was true of the farm land. The following harvest season, and many harvest seasons thereafter: corn, potatoes, cucumbers, beans, and other vegetables, were transported to the Clinton and Bailey Market in Buffalo. That farm has expanded to 70 acres, all prudently cultivated. Many can attest to the high quality of the yearly harvest.
I am sure there are many of our readers have stories they too could share about such industrious folks. And all would agree, these folks are, in their own quiet way, truly exceptional.
Each of these individuals have made valuable and lasting contributions to the quality of life for past and present generations. They were humble, hard working folks of unselfish character, drive, and amazing energy and creative ingenuity. It is sad to say, that there are some in the current generation of leadership who say "they didn't do that" or "they didn't build that". But somehow, most of us know better than that. They DID do that, And we are grateful. Unsung heroes? You bet they are! And that is how I see it FROM MY PERSPECTIVE.