The Advantages of a Better Community: Safe, Secure, and Prepared

Advantages Explored!

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, On Self-Reliance

I’ve always found comfort in those words.  Hasn’t each of us realized that we probably have more in common with each other than we first thought? I’m not saying that our likes and tastes are all the same (that would be boring), but that our basic hopes and desires look – in the end – very similar.  

Over the next few months, I want to explore in more detail the Advantages of a Better Community, one at a time, in no specific order. These are, to me, the “common denominators” of good community. In some ways, they are reflective of the foundations that already exist here in Coraopolis; in other ways, they are aspirational. Some will resonate with you more than others, but I think you’ll agree they all are advantages we seek. They are the advantages I am working for each day.   I look forward to your own thoughtful comments!



We are all motivated by deep impulses and deep appetites to serve, even though we may not be able to locate that which we are willing to serve. So, this is just a part of my nature, and I think everybody else’s nature, to offer oneself at the critical moment when emergency becomes articulate. It’s only when the emergency becomes articulate that we can locate that willingness to serve.
— Leonard Cohen, New York Times Magazine, March 5, 2017

Those words were spoken by Leonard Cohen late last year, a week before his final record was released and about a month before he died.  During an interview, a reporter asked him about the lyrics to one of his songs, and he replied with a reflection that proved once again of his wisdom. When I read that, I immediately thought of how right he was, and how his words could apply in so many contexts. 

We’ve all experienced the moment where our own personal emergencies “become articulate” – and so we jump into action, and we serve. Crisis with a loved one, or a child, or a friend, or even a stranger, can call us outside of ourselves long enough to impact. Nothing cures selfishness like service, and no greater service comes than that in crisis.

My father worked in law enforcement early in his career, after training as a military policeman in the United States Air Force. His duties took him to many locations, and we grew up hearing some (not all) of the stories of his service. And although he went on to work as a machinist and toolmaker, he has always been very prepared, very aware, and very willing to step in where needed.  If you have family or friends who are first-responders, they will tell you that they generally find it hard to relax. There are always going to be moments that they will be called upon, and they must always be ready.

The curfew whistle that sounds faithfully at 10:00 every night throughout Coraopolis is one of my favorite sounds. It is a reminder that those under eighteen should be at home, and that we want our streets to be safe, secure and prepared.  Very often I feel like our town gets a bum rap from local news, when we are – in fact – a safe place to live.  That’s not to say we don’t have our share of problems, people in need, and just plain old knuckleheads, but our police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency and safety personnel work as hard as anyone to make sure the issues stay minimized.  We should thank them, along with the military veterans who are serving us, and have served us, so faithfully and courageously.

This past week showcased Firefighters (May 4), and next week is National Police Week (May 15), as declared by Congress. Let me be the first to say thank you – men and women – for what you are doing for our town and our country.

Now please join me is saying thanks!


Be specific, if you want:

How has someone you know made Coraopolis – or our country – more safe, secure and prepared? 

Or tell us about how someone came to YOUR rescue once in your own life, even if it was a stranger.

Your most thoughtful comments are welcome!