Reflections on one year in Ruston

My wife and I have been back in Ruston for a little over a year now.  We graduated from Tech in the late 1980’s and have been away for about thirty-five years.  While we did make it back for an occasional game, we had not spent any considerable time here since graduation.  During those thirty-five years, we lived in several different cities and states.  One may ask what brought us back to Ruston.  Why Ruston?

One of the key reasons to that question is the memory of good times.  College was a really good experience.  While we enjoyed our four years at Tech, we also both worked at Ruston State Bank while we were in school.  I learned as much working at the bank as I did taking classes.  I still recall the customer service focus that Johnny Maxwell, bank president, had at the time.  I took that same focus with me in future job assignments, and it made a difference.  I recall Kyle McDonald, leader of the trust department at the bank, meeting with his team on a Friday afternoon and thanking each one of them for all they did that week. I haven’t seen another leader do that any better since that day back in 1987.  Most of all, I remember Cathy Ayo, auditor, and my boss.  I learned a great deal from her but also appreciated the personal interest she took in me and her friendship.  Great memories to say the least.

So yes, people were a big part of why we wanted to come back.   I still agree that the people of Ruston can be a real strength and attraction to the community.  With two universities in the parish, there is another great offering to take advantage of.  We were able to get here last summer just in time to watch the conference USA baseball tournament and witness Lane Burroughs and his team have one of the greatest days in Tech sports history (sorry So Miss) and the regional tournament.  We have spent as much time on the campus as possible finding ways to contribute where we can.  

The disappointments are few and can be addressed.  Since we live so close to downtown and the Tech campus, we walk to a lot of places.  The litter on the streets, around the residential areas, and near the campus is shocking.  I pick up trash every day, but it just keeps coming.  The properties with yards that are not maintained is also surprising.  I am sure there are edgers available in the Ruston area for people to use on those sidewalks.  Property ownership is a great right that we have in our country, but it does come with responsibility.  

For all the good of Ruston and Lincoln Parish to show, we must make sure we have a credible appearance for those looking to relocate here.  Whether we are talking businesses, families, or prospective students, we need to present ourselves well, so we get a chance to share what we have to offer.  First impressions can kill a presentation before it ever starts.  Let’s take pride in what we have to offer, take care of our community, and continue to improve things for everyone.

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