Everyone has a hometown. Your hometown is not something you choose, nor can you change it after the fact. Everyone’s hometown fits him or her differently. No matter where you are from, or what you do in your life, there is just something different about a hometown. Your hometown has a huge impact on your life, and Abilene is that hometown for me.
My life wouldn’t be the same if I weren’t born in Abilene. I was incredibly blessed to be born and raised in a place that provided a firm foundation for two of the biggest pillars of my life: faith and community. My faith in Christ would not be the same without being born in the town of “a church on every corner.” While that saying is obviously not true, there has always been a tradition of faith and belief in Abilene. The community of Abilene is perfect for me. It isn’t a huge city, but it’s not a super small town either. I love being able to know my neighbors and to participate as part of the Abilene community.
Abilene has always been a port in the storm. No matter what was going on, when I moved on to college, or moved elsewhere to start my career: Abilene was always there, and always consistent. Rest and encouragement can always be found in my hometown, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Abilene was always within arm’s reach, and I love its central location in Texas.
Abilene provided me opportunities to grow, explore and make mistakes as a teenager, while also not being so big that I felt “unseen.” Being able to work in for profit, non-profit, community organizations, and volunteer opportunities starting at a young age allowed me to find my gifts and expand on them. These opportunities have allowed our young people to learn from the older and wiser and to utilize these experiences to chart our own course. For me, the support and trust within this community are what allowed me to risk starting a business as a young adult. I was able to start a business because I knew Abilene would have my back. I could never thank Abilene enough for the support and encouragement as I started my venture.
The encouragement from being able to chart our own courses and take risks are just a few of the things Abilene is able to provide those that are thinking about moving here or those are in school here locally. We all want Abilene to grow and know that this is a special place. However, it can be hard to put what exactly that is into words. I hope that as we enter a time of reflecting on the past year and dreaming about what is to come, we will think about how our city has affected our lives and how it might affect others.
I’m hopeful that we can continue the tradition of Abilene and pass these opportunities on to the young people of Abilene today. We, as a community, have to push Abilene into the future in a way that only Abilene can, keeping our close knit community and evolving with the changes of time. I am excited to be a part of it and couldn’t be more grateful for all that Abilene has given me, and all that we will become.