Thinking back to your hometown, what is the first place that comes to mind? Chances are, it is a landmark that you saw all the time growing up. For me, this place is The Helen P. Gay Rocky Mount Historic Train Station.
The station isn’t very far from where I live, or my former place of employment. Hearing the rumble of a train on the tracks is a sound I associate with peace and tranquility.
It’s also pretty close to the City of Rocky Mount’s Municipal Building, where I am interning this summer with the City Manager’s Office. This internship is in a familiar place, but it’s definitely a new journey…kind of like boarding one of those trains I always see leaving the station.
I have the unique opportunity of getting to know my city from a different perspective. When you’re a long-time resident, there are many things you can take for granted or just don’t know. For instance, the fact that our Fire Department safely responded to over 10,000 calls of service last year, or how the Environmental Services division of Public Works recently expanded their collection services to 2,000 additional residences. These statistics may seem small, but they are all a part of what makes a city work. As Public Administration students, we are taught the value of local government to communities. It’s completely different, however, to see it firsthand in your own community.
What would we do if the Fire Department didn’t come when we called? What if waste collection services were not available? These are things we don’t generally think about. I know I didn’t-until this week when I reviewed the highlights of each department of the City. I learned how much time, effort and resources go into all the things I never had to think about before.
This internship is very exciting for me. I’m almost at the end of my first week here, and already I can see my eyes opening in new ways to the places I’ve seen all my life. I’m not sure where exactly this train is heading, but I’m looking forward to sharing my observations and I’m so glad you’ll be making all the stops with me.
So hop on! I have a feeling this will be a ride well worth taking.