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POSTED: May 29, 2008 5:00 a.m.

About eight or nine months ago (time flies when you’re having fun), I was convinced by News Publisher Mark Griffin that I should apply for a spot in the 2008 Leadership Bryan class.

So I did, despite some serious reservations – not about the Leadership Bryan program, but about me.

I hate to say it, but I have never been all that good at networking, socializing and other forms of what an old Army buddy of my dad’s used to call "hobnobbing and goobersmooching." Still, I took the plunge – learning right off that I’m an introvert during a personality profile and (more importantly) that servant leadership is a good thing.

A former Leadership Bryan graduate himself, Magnolia Manor’s Rich DeLong headed up the servant leadership segment of the class –and reminded me of the old NCO creed that the welfare of soldiers come first, always.

Now fast forward to Friday, when the class wrapped it up in style with a boat trip to Wassaw Island to see nature up close.

In between, it’s been almost a blur – the obstacle course at Epworth-by-the-Sea (I was sore for days afterward), classes on local government, schools and history, the latter ably taught at Ford Plantation by esteemed local historian Buddy Sullivan.

There was more. A trip by plane to Atlanta that I missed (but heard it was quite the ride) and another on economic development. I mention all this to do two things.

The first is to say Leadership Bryan is a worthwhile endeavor for anyone out there who might be thinking of attending.

You'll learn quite a bit.

The second is to thank some folks, starting with Kittie Franklin, executive director of the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce. She does a fine job of putting this thing on.

And what’s a class without classmates? I was fortunate to be among a group of kind, public spirited folks with a sense of adventure, a love of fun and a wide array of talent. Businesspeople, sure. But also artists, writers, builders and engineers - and they're all leaders in my book.

In addition to yours truly, the 2008 Leadership Bryan Class – which graduated Monday night - includes:

Brian Baraniak, Tidewater Real Estate

Chris Barr, Woodlands Bank

Carrie Blackburn, RHBC Chamber of Commerce

Tori Bulwinkle, Carole & Gene Brogdon’s office

Lucretia Cole, Bryan Bank & Trust

Chris Fettes, Coastal EMC

April Groves, Tagglesnooth Media

Shirley Heagerty, S and J Bookkeeping

Gene McKnight, McKnight Sight & Sound

Clyde Usher-O’Neill, Applied Insight Management

John Reynolds, Roofing Professionals, Inc. and

Shirley Rowe, Rowe Photographers.

 

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