It’s been an awesome week. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of people and participate in several great things. So much in fact, I’m not sure where to begin! To narrow it down, my observations can be summed up in one statement: unicorns walk these halls every day.
Before you question my sanity, let me explain. Unicorns are these amazing, legendary creatures who embody magic, power and grace. I’ve seen so many of them this week! I had the privilege of hanging out with the directors of Energy Resources and Downtown Development, as well as the Fire Chief. All of the people I just mentioned have so much wisdom to share, and they do a lot to advance the values of this city and ensuring that the citizens are being served.
In my meeting with the Director of Energy Resources, Rich Worsinger, I learned so much about Rocky Mount’s community owned electric and natural gas system. The Energy Resources Department is pretty spiffy because the City of Rocky Mount is the recipient of major kudos in electricity and natural gas. For electricity, Rocky Mount is a perennial recipient of the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) award, given to utilities with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service. For natural gas, Rocky Mount is the recipient of the Gold designation award in the American Public Gas Association’s (APGA) System Operation Achievement Recognition (SOAR) program.
Also, if you’ve never met a person whose passion is contagious, come meet Rich. His enthusiasm and love for his job makes energy resources sound like the most interesting thing in the world!
Speaking of people who love their jobs, John Jesso is the director of Downtown Development. He loves talking about the potential of Rocky Mount’s downtown area, as well as how much he believes in the city and all its offerings. If anyone can properly communicate the hopes and aspirations of this community, he can. During my conversation with him, I gained so much insight on the new developments in Rocky Mount and his vision for moving forward. It was pretty inspiring.
Chief Mike Varnell is another inspiring individual. He’s a second generation firefighter who clearly loves what he does. He spoke at length about the service of the fire department to the city. In his words, it isn’t “just about putting the wet stuff on the red stuff”. Rocky Mount is home to 1 of 217 internationally accredited fire departments. A lot of the fire department’s work centers around ensuring the safety of the community in the form of preventative measures. How cool is it to have people who not only show up in an emergency, but try to keep you safe before one occurs?
Talking to these individuals has been really great for me this past week. In full transparency, it can be easy to lose focus sometimes and fall into a routine. But these people refreshed my memory on why I wanted to pursue public service in the first place. At the end of the day, the work is about ensuring the health and safety of our communities, in whatever capacity you choose to do so.
Public service is a higher call. A call to put the needs of the people before your own, and recognize the citizens are what matters. It takes magical unicorns to do that, and I’m happy I get to spend my summer soaking up knowledge from the ones here at the City of Rocky Mount.