A Light in the Darkness

By Brad McEwen

Like many of us, in the midst of growing fear, and downright panic in some corners of the community, I reached out to my set-in-her-ways, 72 year-old mother to make sure she was heeding all the coronavirus warnings and staying safe at home—forgoing regular trips to the salon, hairdresser or the club for lunch.

I was quite relieved when she answered in the affirmative—letting me know that she and The Colonel were heeding the warnings and spending their days piddling around the house, catching up on spring cleaning and getting a jump start on another long season of yardwork. But it was her next comment that had the most impact. And it was exactly the kind of impact I needed.

“We’re doing just fine,” she said. “And tell Matt I know everything’s going to be okay because I can hear all the Rushton kids outside laughing and playing and its wonderful.”

Suffice it to say, this is not the Beyond the Bank I’d hoped you be reading today.

Originally, I had hoped to shine a little light on Albany Tech’s esteemed leader Dr. Anthony Parker and share some of the philosophies and life experiences that have shaped him and led him to Albany, GA where he has become a valued community leader and a champion for the transformative power of an educated and empowered workforce.

But that Beyond the Bank was conceived at a different time, in a different place. Not in the fear-shrouded community where we find ourselves today. So it will have to wait.

Like so many of the things in our lives, that yesterday seemed so regular, so normal so natural.

But that Beyond the Bank has been put on hold, temporarily shelved until that day when we’ve rounded the coronavirus corner and are once again full steam ahead toward a prosperous future.

I have no doubt there’s some among you will scoff at that, but I chose to write that last sentence with affirmation. It’s not IF we round the corner, it’s WHEN.

Absolutely things are tenuous right now. I’m sure none of us expected we’d be leading the state of Georgia in coronavirus cases or watching our own Scott Steiner on CNN, where the Phoebe CEO shared the very real struggle our local hospital has had dealing with the growing number of cases.

I know heading home from baseball practice little more than a week ago, I wasn’t thinking about AB&T operating in employee pods and figuring out ways to handle client needs through drive throughs and digital banking because we chose early on to close our lobbies in an attempt to thwart the spread of Covid-19.

But that reality is here. And we will adjust and get through it.

Because like so many other trials, tribulations and hardships the hardy folk of Albany and Southwest Georgia have faced in their history, Covid-19, 6t foot personal space buffers and mass social isolation will one day be a story Milla, Bear or Rhodes tell their children and grandchildren.

What we’re experience right now will fill up newspaper articles and history books, and at some point in our future that’s where it will live, right along with my tale of filling sandbags on the top side of the civic center as the mighty Flint raged through downtown Albany my senior year.

Tales of the virus that nearly derailed our society, will stand alongside of the recounting of sheared off pine trees, gaping roof holes and twisted scraps of metal that characterize stories of straight line winds, massive tornadoes and inland hurricanes.

And much like those history-defining narratives, the tales future babes will hear at the feet of their geezer grandparent like me, will be descriptions of love, community and humanity.

I don’t know any more than you do, the particulars of how this thing will unfold, but I truly believe I know how it will end.

It will end with this community standing strong together, embracing our friends, loved ones and neighbors in a hug of basic human decency, ready to march into a bright future, filled with the warm and uplifting sounds of our beautiful children laughing and playing.

And that’s music to my ears.

Please stay #albanystrong y’all and remember that together we can overcome anything. Our most precious resource is counting on us.

Connect with Brad – 229.405.7212 - brad.mcewen@abtgold.com - @BradGMcEwen 

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