It’s funny how closely related the words “community” and “common” really are in their meaning and spirit. The Richmond Hill “community” perceives itself as a group that not only shares a common geographic area, but also a set of “common interests.”
Richmond Hill is full of heroes who combine the simple moral perspective that “I” am important as an individual but not as important as “the community,” along with a love for the outdoors and an almost superhuman resourcefulness to attain what is best for the common good.
One of those among us who fits this description is Kay Green of the Richmond Hill Recreation Department. What I appreciate about Kay is that she is fair-minded in her approach to making decisions about how the county's facilities are used, whom they are used by and what constitutes the best way for the most people to have a positive experience in Richmond Hill.
Since Kay’s arrival at the Richmond Hill Recreation Department, she forthrightly has managed the phenomenal growth and importance of our recreation department around the region, not by becoming closed-minded and territorial, but rather by being open to suggestions from community stakeholders.
Kay has promoted our local soccer programs by expanding the uses of Henderson Park’s all-weather fields as an alternative during inclement weather. This past fall, NCAA Division II Armstrong Atlantic’s Lady Pirates needed to move their soccer games from AT&T field due to standing water. Kay offered them the use of our local fields so they would not have to cancel a home game. This brought some 200 spectators and two news crews to Richmond Hill to see our state-of-the-art facilities, spend their money and be promoted on televisions across the Coastal Empire.
During the current budget crisis, Kay has helped our local school teams keep down their cost of operating by referring her county equipment suppliers to us for large-ticket purchases. She had a hand in saving our high school soccer program more than $1,500 on soccer goals.
Last week, Kay’s ability to promote the community as a positive destination enabled Richmond Hill to host a football combine-style workout at Henderson Park. The football workout was attended by 150 players from 19 teams across the Coastal Empire and South Carolina Lowcountry, plus hundreds of spectators, college coaches and at least four news outlets.
This great event only could take place if the organizers could use both football fields at Henderson, because the high school soccer season made the stadium at Richmond Hill High School unavailable for football. It impressed me that Kay’s overriding concern was how to promote the community of Richmond Hill in the best possible light, not necessarily how to protect any one group’s “facility.” Because of the size and local impact of the event and Kay’s community-first approach to the problem, the recreation department was able to relocate their soccer games, thus allowing the football combine to use Henderson’s two fields.
Soccer, football and the rec department working together to share the responsibility of maximizing Richmond Hill’s impact on the area ... “Who’d a thunk it?” As a taxpayer, I want to say, “Way to go Kay, and keep up the great work promoting our community!”
Kollman is a resident of Bryan County. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.