I am grateful to Mayor Bob Gale for writing the column in the Wintersville Scene clarifying the responsibilities of our hard-working village employees and volunteers. It is because of Gale's leadership, our council and our employees and volunteers who give of themselves daily that our community is so great. This group of people, along with some of the finest citizens, abide by not only what has to be done but live and work by always going the second mile.
In every community there are people who go beyond the boundaries of what custom and society requires of them. They do more than what is expected of them, for their standard of behavior comes from within. I have often asked myself why these people are like this. Why do some people do only that which is required while others go far beyond anyone's expectations?
I have come to realize that the latter group is living by a standard not of this world, but of the world beyond, the world that does not end. Christ himself was an example of this type of living and tried to teach us to do the same. He tells us in Matthew's Gospel: "If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles." In Jesus' time, by law, citizens would be required to carry the armor or belongings of a Roman soldier for one mile, and the citizens had to do it. Jesus is telling us that when we are required by law or by custom to do something, we should not only do the minimum requirement, but go beyond what is expected. By doing such, we are showing others that we are his true disciples.
If a person is going to move in that realm beyond duty, something must happen to him on the inside. No person can hire, bribe or compel a person to live as Christ lived. Only Christ, living within a person, can cause him to do that. When a person feels that a sacrifice has been done for him so great that he can never pay it back, it does something to his life that nothing and no one else are able to accomplish.
Living on Main Street in Wintersville, I continually am overwhelmed by the number of civil servant vehicles that go past our home daily in pursuit of helping other people or keeping the citizens safe. Although they are visible daily, the village is full of others who come out for any need, including keeping our streets clean and safe in the winter months, literally going to the "second mile" and most often the third, fourth and fifth until we are all safe.
I cannot express my gratitude enough to all of our civil servants and especially our mayor and Police Chief Ed Laman for their leadership. They are examples to me and to all of us of how we should be living in these years allotted us by God. May they continue to make our community great by living that kind of sacrifice which calls for living beyond what is expected of them and always going the second mile.
(Kemo is pastor of Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Lourdes parishes in Wintersville. He holds a master's of divinity degree in sacred theology, a J.C. L. degree in canon law and a Ph.D. in jurisprudence.)