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Guest Opinion: We should 'Stand As One' in support of the referendum

Ron Stolski

It is curious what we discover on our way to looking for something else. Over four decades ago, in the spring of the year and a life, our family moved to Brainerd from our home in the Twin Cities. We came for the opportunity to live in "greater" Minnesota and to work in, and be a part of, a wonderful environment and a highly regarded outstanding school system. It was an exciting time filled with the hopes, dreams and challenge that are timeless; shared by the legions of those who were born here, those who came before us and those who have since come to live and work. Families like ours already lived here; families followed. Families small and large often unknown to one another but with like hopes and dreams who discovered the common thread that helps unites every community, the marvelous schools. Now in the autumn of that life and having our children, grandchildren and (gasp) great-grandchildren experience living and learning in those schools, we reflect on another early significant discovery of our beautiful Brainerd area. The spirit of the people. We are home and shall ever be home. And, it is you, good people who have made it so. As you have for all of us. You, friends, are our best kept secret.

I suspect the reader has learned the same lesson; knows and shares the same spirit. It is a spirit rich in Brainerd's history and passed on to those of us who have inherited it. This community is replete with people who give and care; people who labor and sacrifice for others. Scarcely a day or week goes by when we do not learn of a community gathering that stands ready to support any cause; serve any of our fellow women and men. There are those among us who, daily, humbly and without seeking recognition, reach out to make this a better place for all. They serve individually or as part of the myriad civic and community organizations with the common purpose to help make a life or lives better. They serve to sustain our good place and to improve all that we have and share. When called our people, as they have done for decades, stand tall and strong. They are citizens whose common thread is that they, and/or their children, were educated and prepared for life in the Brainerd schools. And you are one of them.

A recent Brainerd Dispatch headline, in reference to the planning of our city's revitalization project, stated, "Our time is now." A worthy project that will succeed. This writer opines that our time is now as well to realize and united behind our common thread, our outstanding school system. Now we have been called to support the upcoming referendum to sustain and improve that system. ISD 181 is recognized throughout the state as being one of the finest. The need for the referendum has been well established. If the buildings could talk, they would reveal and revel in the character of those who learned and walked between its walls for over a century. They might also imply it is time for revitalization and with a collective sigh, thank the community for embracing, recognizing and acting on that need, and call once again on the spirit of the people. Last fall, our team selected as its theme, "Stand As One." It shared the togetherness that all could support and care for one another. That we would be the strong and better for it. It is time. Time for all of us to "Stand As One" and vote yes, yes, yes.