Rural Missouri Magazine

Community Builders

Frank Stork
by Frank Stork

A few weeks ago I attended a conference for rural electric cooperative directors. Their agenda was filled with topics addressing current industry trends.

These elected directors were men and women with reputations as progressive and aggressive community builders. They built a consumer-owned electric cooperative system that some said couldn’t be built. And, through the years they have fought successfully against those who would tear it down.

An evening dinner was included in the conference schedule. After dinner we were treated to a program that ended with a thought provoking poem. I will share a part of that poem with you as I think it is forever relevant.

The Builder
(Author unknown)

I saw them tearing a building down,
A team of men in my hometown.
With a heave and a ho and a yes, yes yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.
And I said to the foreman,
“Are these men skilled?”
Like the ones you’d use if you had to build?”
And he laughed and said,
“Oh no, indeed…
The most common labor is all I need,
for I can destroy in a day or two
what takes a builder many years to do.”

The speaker that night was a young man from rural northwest Missouri. He went on to tell his audience that in his short lifetime he had observed both those who build and those who tear down. He was, everyone understood, talking about a lot more than buildings.

He asked each of us to reflect on the broad meaning of the poem and think about how those we work with might describe each of us. During the short time the young man was with us, he gave us some pretty heavy stuff to ponder. As he closed, he encouraged us to think about the deep meaning of the poem each day.

Reprinting this short poem in my column gives me an opportunity to thank our community builders for the very important contributions they make.

We truly do appreciate your very important and continuing efforts to improve our great state. Thank you and keep up the good work.

Stork was executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and a member of Three Rivers Electric Co-op.

Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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