What Makes Ronnie Roll: I Hope They Shine

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

The weather on Monday morning was just perfect. Blessedly, we had been spared the kind of tornadic activity over the weekend that had hit in other states, and that had coincided with the anniversary of our April 27, 2011 “big ones.” Mayor Ronnie took City Councilman Chris Seibert and me down the hall to the large, public town hall where the workshop known as “Flawless Delivery” was just kicking off. “Flawless,” as it is known amongst its originators, is a two-day workshop that is geared toward improving serving in the hospitality and tourism industries, but it is much more. There is brain science, neuroplasticity, role playing, conflict resolution, and sensory training that can be used in far more ways than at the front desk of a hotel. I got to sit in on some of it, and it is excellent. Mayor Ronnie said, “If I were in the service field, I would take this. I think it’s very beneficial, and these kinds of classes are crucial.”

We talked about the fact that the annual Relay For Life Celebrity Waiters’ Night was happening on Tuesday, and Mayor Ronnie, Chamber of Commerce Director Pammie Jimmar, Athens High School Coach Cody Gross, APD Officer Michael Stainbrook, Athens High School Band Director Dr. Ty Parker, Community Advocate Laverne Gilbert, Athens Firefighter Jordan Pugh, and Sherie Prier (daughter of the late Kathy Cothren) were gearing up to compete for tips that would all go to benefit Relay. It is always a fun event for a worthy cause.

Mayor Ronnie was just back from a 14-state conference of the League of Municipalities, and is handing off the baton after serving as its president for two years. He has enjoyed being part of the leadership team and will continue to attend the conferences. “One of the things that keynote speaker Haley Barbour talked about was the need to be aware of the ‘dark side’ of politics,” he said. Other topics were AI and how to be safe with its use, the fentanyl problem and the use of “dark money.” “Everyone knows we are at a critical place in our country, and it doesn’t take much to go backwards quickly,” he added.

A bittersweet time is coming up, and that is graduation. The school year had flown by, and the high points will always include the Mayor’s Youth Commission. “Our wonderful seniors are graduating,” Mayor Ronnie said with a touch of wistfulness. “We have laughed and shared and become family,” he said. He went on to say, “I treasure the time with them more than just about anything. Hopefully wherever they show up in life, I just hope they shine,” he said.

We talked about some tough things going on, and concluded that we needed to do the best we can with what we’ve got on our watch, and after that, it is up to God to take care of the rest. There was only one thing left to do, and that was to pray. So, we did, and then it was time once again for Ronnie to roll.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner