Columns for The Lufkin News

A New Paradigm of Volunteerism

Posted Feb 04, 2014 by Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at the annual Chamber banquet as outgoing Chair. This was my charge to the 700-plus in attendance, and my hope for Lufkin and Angelina County.

I have a passion for Lufkin – for her growth, her people, her churches and volunteer organizations. We live in a city and county that lives philanthropy. We have inherited a community built and sustained by many visionary leaders who made things happen, often, so the legend goes, by simply picking up the phone. And because of that legend, we run the risk of becoming complacent.

We are guilty of two things, as I see it, and I am intentionally using hyperbole to make a point. First, we are guilty of a reductionist view that thinks all advancement centered around Arthur Temple and that circle of leaders, as influential as it was. Second, we are guilty of a pessimistic view that no one is left who can make the big things happen. Now, of course, neither is true, but we shouldn’t allow ourselves to simplify and excuse away the need for hard work.

There are four keys to our continued success, as I see it.

First, COMMUNICATION.

When I was in medical school, one of the hardest lessons for me to learn was to pick up the phone and call someone for advice when I didn’t know the answer. There are experts out there in all fields. Maybe the Arthur Temples and Murphy Georges, the George Hendersons and Bubba Shands, the Rufus Duncans and Joe Denmans – I could go on – maybe it just seemed like they could just pick up the phone and call one another and get things done. We can, too, but we have to communicate. We are all in this together, and all have the same goal, whether city, county, Chamber, public or private sector, for-profit or non-profit. Let’s communicate!

Second, COOPERATION.

This actually dovetails with communication. Not only do we need to talk to each other, we need to work together. And we are! One thing I do believe is different today from the previous generation, perhaps, and that is rules and regulations are just more complicated. But everyone has to play by the rules, so let’s all get in there and do the work… together, and across organizational lines.

Third, CREATIVITY.

Partly because the rules of the game have changed, we need to get more creative with our solutions. I think of the discussions community leaders have had regarding Economic Development and how both the City and the Chamber have an interest, and how at an Economic Development Partnership meeting we were able to identify common interests as well as areas where either the City or the Chambershould take the lead (for example, bringing in manufacturing jobs versus business retention and retail initiatives). Let’s embrace our different approaches and creatively structure our relationships for maximum effectiveness.

Finally, CONTINUED INVOLVEMENT.

Last month, we buried Lizzie Wallace, a courageous teenager who died from a rare liver cancer. Her two-year fight with cancer didn’t stop her from working to make a difference. “Be the change you want to see” was her motto. As Lizzie saw it, we all have a responsibility to continue to use our influence in a positive way, even if – as in her case – we are near the end of our journey.

Whether you bring youth and energy to the table or the connections and influence that come with age and experience, you are needed. Get involved; stay involved! Together, we can make our dreams for Lufkin and Angelina County come true.

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Meet Our Team

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Radiation Oncologist

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

Radiation Oncology Nurse

Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Lead Radiation Therapist

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Radiation Therapist

Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Radiation Therapist

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Dosimetrist

Linda Miller, MS

Linda Miller, MS

Medical Radiation Physicist

Evelyn Leach

Evelyn Leach

Receptionist