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Thanks for summer of learning in Elba

​It is hard to put into words what my time here in Elba this summer means to me. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime and memories that will never be forgotten. I’m so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to call this city my home for the past ten weeks, and I will miss it dearly.

It seems like yesterday that I moved into Justin Maddox’s house to start my experience in the Auburn Living Democracy program. My first event was attending the Elba City Council meeting. It is amazing how time flies when you are doing what you love and working with wonderful people.

I must first thank Sandy Bynum, president of the Elba Chamber of Commerce, for welcoming me to the Chamber. She provided me with the opportunity to work on my summer project for the city. I learned so much about local economics and how important businesses are to small towns like Elba.

Ms. Bynum also taught me a lot about local government and ways to get involved with my community. I will always appreciate all she has done to mentor me. I look forward to seeing my summer project, “The City of Elba, Alabama Directory”, which will be put in the Chamber of Commerce office and in businesses all throughout the Wiregrass region. I hope it will inform Elba citizens and tourists about all the great things happening here.

I will never forget the great memories and experiences I have had here such as eating at the Rabbit Hole while watching live music outside by the mural. I will also never forget meeting all the wonderful people of the Elba Rotary Club or the wise advice Mayor Mickey Murdock gave me about local government and public policy.

I won’t forget learning about zoning and city code enforcing from Mr. Worthington or learning more about local history by visiting the Alabama Bicentennial Exhibit. I will also remember my spectacular time kayaking down the Pea River. I cannot wait to come back and show my friends in Auburn how we do it in Elba.

Of course, I cannot forget to mention Justin Maddox. Justin welcomed me into Elba with open arms. He never hesitated to ask me if I needed anything and always invited me to events happening around town.  

Thank you Justin for introducing me to Restoration 154, the nonprofit doing so much to make Elba great. I can’t wait to see the Elba Theatre up and running again. Justin is truly a person who does so much for Elba, whether it is picking up lunch for the Elba Rotary Club or waking up at 7 a.m. to pick fruits and vegetables from the Giving Garden to give bring to the Church of Christ Food Bank. Justin will do whatever he can to help the people of Elba, and this town is certainly lucky to have someone who cares so much about his community.

There are so many things I will miss about Elba. I will miss Thursday night dinner and board games with the Chapman family. I will miss going to the Elba High School and enjoying a nice summer evening while I played basketball on the outside courts. I also will miss going on my morning jog on the levee river walk that surrounds the downtown portion of the city.

Most importantly, I will miss the friendships I have built throughout my time here. I will continue to keep in touch with the friends I have made. This is truly a wonderful community with very special people, and I have been blessed to be a part of it. Thank you, Elba.