Editorial: Behind-the-scenes players’ efforts often beyond our realization

One thing I really enjoy about journalism – in addition to the fact that it’s generally a fun challenge to gather and package news for our readership that nobody else is reporting – is that I learn a lot of things that I never would have if I hadn’t been in this business.

I was reminded of that as I wandered the Biz Expo on April 10 at the River Center, an amazing amalgamation of commerce, outreach and opportunities to get to meet people you never have before. Organized by Chamber Executive Director Shelly Garrett and her staff and volunteers, it is a well-oiled machine of connectivity and it gave our staff a chance to meet a lot of people and talk about what we do. We also received lots of helpful feedback.

I’ve really enjoyed covering Lebanon because there’s a lot of energy and innovation here, both qualities I personally appreciate. That was, of course, on display at the Expo, which, if you’ve never attended, I’d strongly recommend you put on your list of things to do next year. In addition to all the free goodies people hand out, it will broaden your perspective and appreciation for what Lebanon and surrounding communities have to offer. It has done that for me each time I’ve visited, let alone participated.

Getting back to my original point, though, about how it’s fun to learn interesting new things about people and the place you live and/or work, I was reminded of this as well when I read about Warren Beeson in this newspaper.

Warren, of course, was named Senior First Citizen at the Distinguished Service Awards banquet in March, when he announced he was moving away after three-plus decades here in Lebanon.

When Warren commandeered the mic and gave a bit of a monologue on his experiences in Lebanon and the fact that he was moving to Tennessee to be nearer to family, anybody who didn’t know his history would have simply appreciated the fact that he’d contributed substantially to the community during his time here. That was me.

Frankly, I had no idea, until I read our story, of the role Warren played in establishing and facilitating events I’ve enjoyed long before we decided to start providing news coverage in Lebanon.

I said earlier that I’ve had a lot of experiences I would have missed if I hadn’t, thanks to journalism, been in the “right” place at the “right” time.

Many of us have enjoyed the Star Spangled Celebration at Cheadle Lake, but I’ll bet not too many have given a lot of thought to people like Warren or Ron Carter (whom we wrote about last summer), who puts together the pyrotechnic shows with his family and firefighter buddies.

A lot of people enjoy the Christmas activities in Ralston Park, but I wonder how many of us think about all the volunteer time and effort to make all that happen.

Same thing with the Dog Park. No doubt it will be enjoyed by thousands of two- and four-legged residents. Thanks to Warren and a bunch of others, they’ll have that privilege.

Like I say, I probably would not have thought much about all this either, if I hadn’t been continually exposed to the behind-the-scenes players as a journalist. They make me appreciate events more, like that Expo, because I know what goes into them. Whether they’re paid or not, these people do it for us, their community.