Not so speechless in here
I've been a member of the state cattlemen's association for about three years, a little more than a year of that has been with the Franklin County Cattlemen.
I really enjoy being a member of this organization. I always have. Granted, I don't own the first cow so my participation in this group has been trying to provide them with the news coverage and publicity they deserve.
I do support the cattle industry in other ways. First of all, my family is full of beefeaters. We love good burgers and steaks. When I was growing up, almost every Saturday night was steak night. I remember being little and thinking that it's a special occasion because we're having steak.
I also support the cattle industry by understanding their strife. The price of everything continues to go up. This translates to increased costs on the farmers. Couple that with the recent dry conditions, and that can drive the cost of cattle down: They're more expensive to feed, so their demand is smaller.
Increased costs plus dips in revenue spells headache and heartache.
At the county cattlemen's association last week, I was presented with the club's first ever President's Award.
I love a good steak, and it's a great opportunity for Tiffany, Lizzie and I to see many of our friends, so we never miss this event.
About an hour into it, the county cattlemen's president, Floyd Willingham, Jr. took the podium and began to talk about this new award the club wanted to give out to one of it's members.
I remember thinking how I needed to grab my camera because this was a great photo opportunity. Then he called my name.
I just sat there. I looked at Tiffany and said, "Do what?"
For the roughly 300 people that packed the Russellville Recreation Center, I must have looked like I was the personification of the word "shocked."
I was. I never and I mean never, would have anticipated anything like that. As I made my way to the stage, Orland Britnell, who will soon become the state association's president, asked me to say a few words. I'll never be able to thank him enough for that.
I'm not much for giving a speech on the fly, not a good speech anyway.
My mind was totally blank. I mustered a few dozen thank yous and made my way back to my seat.
I've had a few days to think about it, and writing is much more in my comfort zone than public speaking, so I want to take this opportunity to say what I couldn't Saturday night.
Helping to promote the county cattlemen's association is both an honor and a privilege for this newspaper and myself. Mr. Britnell has told me many times that other county chapters are jealous of the coverage the Franklin County members get. That saddens me. If a new business opened in their counties, guaranteeing a few million dollars in revenue, would they cover that? Of course they would. What they don't realize is their cattlemen have been doing that for years.
Promoting our local cattlemen is easy. Mr. Britnell, Mr. Willingham, Jack Hargett and others are very proactive. They make sure that we, as their newspaper, know what's going on so we can keep our other readers informed. They make that part of my job very easy. They are as much deserving of that award as I was.
Everything in Franklin County, every club, every school and everybody is just as important as everything else to the Franklin County Times. Whether you're a cattleman with a sandwich sale, a mom with a birth announcement, a new bride with a wedding photo or a proud child of a Golden Anniversary couple, we're happy to extend that coverage to you and our community.
And a word of advice to the 2009 President's Award recipient: Have a speech prepared ahead of time, just in case.