It's hard to believe that another year has nearly passed us. The fourteenth year of the Twenty-First Century has been a year mixed with joy, fear, triumph and disaster; but if one looks back throughout history, it has been a rather typical year. I look at the things that happened nationwide and I see strange parallels from the 1960's; the racial divides, the riots, the protests, the call to arms by those who want their voices heard. Fortunately, Bath County has been spared these major events and we hope to continue being kept away from that microscope of life.
Some great things happened this past year in Bath County; probably the most important being the expansion of the food processing plant in Owingsville's Industrial Park. That expansion brought around 300 jobs to our community and has boosted our local economy, if you look at the whole picture rather than seeing just the paper backing. Our community spirit has started to flicker again with our May Day Celebration, Court Days, and even our town pep rallies for our athletics programs being widely supported by the people. It was twenty-six years ago that the football team closed down a block in Owingsville to celebrate a great season (one I am proud to have been a part of) and seeing that interest again during the Homecoming Parade this year should make anyone smile with pride.
There have also been tragedies and losses this past year. The Owingsville Fire Department, of which I am Assistant Chief of, responded to a record of over 300 calls in 2014. There was a time when we responded to maybe 100 calls in a year and thought we had really been busy. The calls we responded to haven't all been easy; in just the first three months of 2014, we lost two local men in residential fires. One man was rescued, but succumbed later and the other was found in the burned out debris of his home. We worked many automobile accidents where property and sometimes lives were damaged or lost. I worked a call where someone I had known many, many years lost his life due to a motorcycle accident. Many other prominent and well known people in Bath County passed away naturally, leaving their history to be carried on by loved ones or people who knew them well. I hope their stories never fade off into oblivion.
Has anything truly historical happened in Bath County that would be talked about in years to come? That depends on what a person's idea of historical significance may be. It could be the building of the local economy and development, the closely watched elections we had, or something that others may deem insignificant. However one looks at it, the fact is that 2014 is now marked in the books of history. I would like to take this moment and thank each and every one of you who has read my historical reflections about Bath County. It has been truly overwhelming to see nearly 6,000 people from not only the United States, but from all over the world, taking the time to read these chapters. A huge thank you to Cecil Lawson and the Bath County News Outlook for publishing my stories so those who may not be cyber-connected may enjoy them. I plan on continuing to bring you these glimpses of our history as long as I am able; who knows how many more chapters are to come...we will just have to wait and see together.
Happy New Year!