We are OBKY

At last week’s Rooster Booster, we heard from Secretary of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Economic Development regarding the project landscape in Kentucky and what communities need to be doing to be ready. We also heard that Daviess County was in the 25th percentile in new projects and announcements in the state of Kentucky.

That’s not surprising. Our community has worked tirelessly on assembling infrastructure of every aspect to fuel sustainable job growth. And it isn’t the “what” that is striking — although our success is remarkable given how many indicators say we should be losing ground. It is the “how” that is most remarkable and is a deep source of pride.

Owensboro has an indomitable spirit. We are doers. We are bullheaded. If we are told that something is impossible for us to accomplish, we will pull together to prove the odds wrong. We disagree, debate and argue. But we make up and we move along.

Most of all, we have a sense of community. Our neighborhoods are alive and connected. We know the people the next door. And when they have tragedy or setbacks, we offer a meal or a word of encouragement. I see this every day across our community — people caring for one another.

Thursday was one of those days for our family and another one of the “aha moments” when I realize who we are here. My son had had surgery the night before and was already stir crazy as active 18-year-old young men can be when they have to be still and stay still. His buddies made a surprise visit to bring him his favorite junk food and homemade cards from classes at school.

As they sat in the front room laughing and telling stories, I heard one of them say how he knew he would be going to college out of town and that they would all be split up next year. “I mean, it isn’t going to be the same ever again. And I love my friends. I love Owensboro.” My throat started closing and I hurt for them thinking that, yes, they were right, and how much I was going to miss all of them.

A knock came at the door and there was one of my lifelong girlfriends that I first met at Owensboro Catholic when I was 14. She had brought over dinner for a few nights for us. She knew we were sleep deprived and keeping our work schedules and that cooking was going to be nearly impossible. She was there for me without being asked.

I remember those days when we used to say we would never be back — and that it would never be the same. Yet 30 years later, here we were laughing and feeling like we were teenagers.

And I looked back at my son and the young men on the couch laughing with him.

By Candance Brake President and CEO Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce