The Definition Of Community


Last updated 7/9/2020 at 10:31am

In Monday’s paper we ran a story entitled, “Powell Town Rallies Around The River.” The story epitomizes the combined definitions of community as “a group of people living in the same locality” as well as “a group of people having common interests.”

Due to severe flooding in April, a group of trees had fallen into the East Fork River, forcing the river to make a hard turn to the left. The redirected flow of the river could have caused severe erosion and property damage if left alone.

But as David Whitmire wrote, Bruce Whitmire allowed access through this property for the work to be done. Hub Powell used his track hoe to lift the cut tree sections from the river, as well as repair the riverbank. Woody Platt and David Whitmire cut the down trees in the river and then hooked cables to them so that they could be removed. The men not only removed the trees blocking the river at this one point, but they also removed trees at two other locations that could have eventually rerouted the river and pulled out some tires that had been dumped in the river.

It’s important to note that these men cleared the river of their own volition, and did so at some risk. There was no assurance that everything would go right. Whitmire and Platt could have been injured while in the river sawing logs. There are thousands of accidents involving people using chainsaws on dry land every year. Using chainsaws while in the river with its current and unseen objects below the surface only increases the danger. Working a track hoe along a riverbank is also precarious work, from making sure the logs do not hit anyone to keeping the rig on solid ground. Given the experience of the men working on this project, it is highly unlikely that anything harmful would would have happened, but there is always that possibility.

This is not the first time Whitmire and others have worked in the river to clear potential and existing log jams. Other people and organizations also have been involved in removing log jams and other debris from the French Broad River and its tributaries.

In the best communities, people from disparate vocations – as was the case in this instance – see a problem, collaborate and use their diverse talents to resolve the problem. Some of those who participate may be direct beneficiaries of resolving the problems, but most involved are not. They do it because they epitomize what it means to be a member of a community.


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