By JIM HUNT
author, speaker, consultant
In my new book, “The Amazing City-7 Steps to Creating an Amazing City”, I wrote a chapter on “The City Sparkplug”. My idea of a city sparkplug is the person who is always willing to help and work for the betterment of their city. It is the person who attends community meetings and organizes groups to work on community projects. This is not always the leader, but sometimes just a willing volunteer who doesn’t care who gets credit as long as the job gets done. The sparkplug can be young or old, rich or poor, or anyone who just wants to build a better community.
I regularly meet these “sparkplugs” and they all seem to have some similar characteristics. They all seem to love people and enjoy being with a wide variety of people. They are also very innovative and can find unique and creative ways to accomplish a goal. When others are doubters, they maintain a positive attitude and work to keep others energized.
Our community has a good number of sparkplugs and I wanted to highlight a few of them in this week’s column. The first is Wayne Worth, a local resident who has unlimited energy and has worked tirelessly to help his fellow citizens. I met Wayne several years ago and was impressed with his wide range of projects and his boundless energy. He recently reached out to Southern West Virginia and has been organizing efforts to help residents impacted by the devastating floods that hit our state last year. He is also deeply involved in the effort to address the drug problem in our area. He has organized an army of volunteers to take resource information flyers, door to door, in a program called Neighbors in Action. The program continues to grow and has already made a difference in getting help to those in need.
Another sparkplug in our community is a fellow named Tuna Mateen Abdul-Aziz, who is a one-man rehabilitation machine in the Monticello Avenue neighborhood in Clarksburg. Mr. Abdul-Aziz saw the challenges in the neighborhood and decided to act. He bought a dilapidated building and demolished it along with replacing the broken sidewalks and overgrown brush. He organized the neighbors and developed a community garden and worked with the Clarksburg Park Board to upgrade the park and basketball court. Based on the success, Tuna approached the Clarksburg-Harrison Regional Housing Authority to see if they could help to upgrade the housing choices in the neighborhood. With a partnership with a local bank and a large vacant lot, there is now a plan to build new housing in the neighborhood.
The last “sparkplug” is D.D. Meighen. D.D. is a former member of the Harrison County School Board and a minister who has done a great job filming and promoting local events. He has taken his love for his community and created hundreds of video programs that air on local community access television. It is hard to comprehend the complex task of filming and producing television programs especially for an aging minister with a cheap video camera. D.D. is truly a sparkplug and one of the most dedicated people that I know.
Our community is fortunate to have a multitude of “sparkplugs” and these three gentlemen are just a few of the many people who make our community Amazing. I’ll highlight some additional sparkplugs in an upcoming column.