It’s only Fair…

It’s always a joy, and too often a surprise, when hard work pays off. In Wallowa County we have two supreme examples of that this week.

In a world fraught with controversy, rancor, and cynicism, the Wallowa County Fair is a refuge and a shining example of what we can be at our best: collaborative, cooperative, charitable, kind, and even courageous. Families all pulled together for the sake of one another and for Wallowa County’s most precious and valuable resource—children. There was lots of laughter and play. But when there was work to be done, it got done. If someone needed help, it was there. Volunteers worked, and are still working, long, laborious hours to ensure that the fair’s many and complex components worked smoothly. The whole thing went off without a hitch. Judges emphasized the positive things that each hard-working entrant had accomplished. Animals were treated kindly and respectfully. People were too. And when it came to the very difficult task of saying goodbye to the lamb or steer or pig or turkey that each youngster raised, all of the kids found the strength to do so with dignity, although for some it was extremely difficult.

Now its over, and we are back to ordinary lives. It’s only Fair, after all. Or is it? True, a spirit of collaboration and can-do togetherness pervades our Ag community, and each of the other philosophically cohesive groups in the county. It would be nice if the spirit of the fair could linger—maybe continue for all of us all year, and maybe help us enlarge the circle of those we converse with, visit with, work with. Maybe in the spirit of the Fair, be fairer?

To anyone who is feeling downtrodden by current events, the Fair is a place to escape, to recharge, and to witness, and perhaps absorb the vibrant energy of a new generation rising. If you didn’t get there this year, you ought to go next year. Free is a pretty fair price. (Or maybe you’d like to volunteer?)

The other example of hard work and persistence that paid off comes from our medical community and our legislators. Our providers, including Chantay Jett, Nic Powers and others, persevered in the belief that they could bring a new and more effective kind of medical center to Wallowa County. One that would be a model for comprehensive, integrated care across Oregon, the northwest, and the nation. They spent four years--in fact almost a decade--thinking, talking, and planning. And to their enduring credit, our two legislators, Rep. Greg Barreto (R-Cove), and Sen. Bill Hansell (R-Athena), were key figures in securing the new $2.5 million appropriation that virtually assures project success. They lobbied their colleagues hard, and Wallowa County will be the beneficiary of their efforts—and those of our medical community. As Wallowa County Commissioner Susan Roberts has noted, “Senator Hansell and Representative Barreto worked hard for Eastern Oregon and delivered for us, even though they were in the super-minority in Salem. We are very grateful for their leadership and representation.”

So there it is. Hard Work. Persistence. Attention to Detail. Collaboration. Kindness. Courage. For Wallowa County these time-honored ethics have paid off handsomely. But, after all, it’s only fair.

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