By Judson Rex
I have a silly confession to make: I tear up and/or get mountainous goosebumps at the end of the movie, "The Avengers." No, it's not from all the amazing computer generated graphical war scenes or the fact that, consistent with most epic Hollywood films, the "good guys" win. It's because against all odds, including an insurmountable army of super-powerful extraterrestrials, a few dedicated and talented humans unite to fight, and win. I know, I'm nerdy, but please bear with me, there is a point to this.
Early in the movie, the main antagonist, an extraterrestrial named Loki, successfully secures the ultimate weapon which he plans to unleash on Earth. He overtakes this weapon, not by force, but by turning a team of good guys, the Avengers, against themselves. Rather than fighting the evil Loki, the Avengers battle each other, leaving Loki to open a space portal and start the war to end mankind. Only after the death of one of the leaders of their heroic group do the Avengers decide to unite and accomplish their vision to defeat evil. Unfortunately, the army-from-another-world has already engaged the battle; it's too late. Or is it?
Three years ago when interviewing for the town manager position with the town of Strasburg, the interview panel, made up of the Town Council, asked me what was the community's greatest asset. Without any hesitation, I replied, "the people." I hold firm to that answer today. The people of Strasburg are remarkable. They are diverse in thought and talent, hard working, and, most importantly, genuinely kind. I couldn't hand pick a better citizenry to serve.
Since taking the job, I've observed, on occasion, residents taking the opportunity to battle against each other, just as the Avengers did early in the film. Remember the meeting at Town Hall about the fire siren? It was a skirmish between the been-heres and the blow-ins. And all those meetings on the historic district ... classic haves vs. have-nots. I'll take a rain check on mentioning Popeye's. Oops. Each time for me it's like watching the Hulk smash Thor or Iron Man duke it out with Captain America. Don't get me wrong, I know a certain level of public debate is healthy and necessary, I just don't want to see us focus on our differences and slip into the mode of fighting ourselves. We won't get anywhere doing that.
Folks, we're all on the same team. This is your town. If you're as passionate about it as I think you are, engage yourself in the community. Help us work toward the vision of preserving the rural, small-town character of Strasburg while providing for appropriate growth.
Help us answer the visionary questions like what do you want your community to feel like or look like? What recreation opportunities do you want in your neighborhood? What kinds of jobs and shopping opportunities do you want in the community?
I know people hate driving 15 minutes in any direction to grocery shop, be entertained, or collect a paycheck. As we enter 2014 and you start to plan out your new year's resolutions, put attending a community meeting on your list. There are plenty of opportunities to speak up: monthly formal council meetings, less-formal work sessions, and informal committee meetings. Meetings are always listed on the town's website and in the Northern Virginia Daily. Come tell us what you think and how you can help make it all happen. I know the incredible people of Strasburg can do as the Avengers did and assemble their collective talent to achieve a goal. In summary: Strasburg unite!
Judson Rex is the Strasburg town manager.