Community ties run deep in Moore County.  As someone who has not lived here my entire life, I find Lynchburg to be a special place where ‘community’ still means something to many of us who live here, which is not the case in some other places I have resided. I am a daughter of a soldier so I have always had ‘shallow roots’, living in many different places, making the best of it as I went.  My grandmother, Sadie, has been known to say ‘Bloom where you are planted’ which is advice that I take to heart.  To me, ‘blooming’ doesn’t just mean to flourish as an individual, but to invest in one’s community and to help those around you ‘bloom’ too. Though I am thankful for the experiences that moving so often offered, not having the privilege of being born and raised in a place like Lynchburg means I fully understand the importance of having roots and taking pride in your community.

My great-grandparents, Johnny and Velma Rives, moved here in 1972 and took over the grocery store on the square, aptly naming it V&J Market.  I’ve been told that as soon as they rolled into town, Velma jumped out of the truck and went to work straightaway on cleaning the store.  A few years later my grandparents followed with my mom, aunt, and uncle in tow from California.  I find it so funny that to this day, there are some locals who remember Joe & Sara Hope (Pop and Sadie) as ‘those folks from California’ despite being active members of the Moore County community for almost 50 years.  Both Pop and Sadie have been elected to serve in local government, Pop serving as a City Judge and Sadie serving as Circuit Court Clerk, as well as going on to head the Moore County Public Library. Though they weren’t born and raised here, the Hopes invested their time and energy into this community and Lynchburg is better for it.  Part of being a true member of a community is not just claiming a birthright to a place but to actively involve yourself in the betterment of it. 

When I had some major changes happen in my own life and the world went crazy with COVID, I knew of only one community that I would want to raise my daughter in.  She misses our regular trips to Target and Panda Express that we had when living in a bigger city, but she has adjusted nicely to our quieter, country life.  We spend many evenings watching the cows across the road and sitting in our rocking chairs as the sun goes down.  She has been welcomed with open arms at Lynchburg Elementary and she has been blessed with many teachers and staff who know and love her.  She will have the benefit of stability that comes with attending the same school for the rest of her primary and secondary education which is something I did not have.

While not originally from here, my love for this community is a testament to the importance of holding onto what Lynchburg has to offer and keeping in mind that there are people without ‘birthright’ who want to make this community a better place.  We have to fight the temptation to take on the ‘every man for himself’ mentality that I have witnessed first-hand in many places across America.  In this day and age of social media, it is quite easy to PUBLICLY complain about problems and what needs to be done.  I ask those with complaints about issues here at home to step back and see yourself as a part of the solution.  There are many people, originally from here or not, that are doing good things to help others and maintain our small piece of ‘heaven on earth’.  It is our responsibility as members of this great town to ask ourselves what we have to offer others and to spread the feeling of welcome to those who are willing to devote their time and effort to the betterment of Moore County. 

What does community mean to you?  I would love to hear from you and to further this conversation!  Please email hdemetris@themoorecountynews.com or mail P.O. box 500 Lynchburg, TN, or send me a message on Facebook.

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