Archived Story

Great example of ‘What’s Right Here’

Published 2:37pm Monday, March 26, 2012

In a couple of weeks Tallapoosa Publishers, Inc. is going to publish “What’s Right Here,” a high-quality, coffee-table magazine that focuses on what’s right about our community.

In its pages you will find stories about local businesses and people who are making this community a great place to live and work.

Some people might be skeptical about the Lake Martin area being a great place to live.

After all, you hear similar claims from many communities all over the country.

In some sense, stating your town is a great place to live has become a mere cliché, thrown about in conversation without much to back it up.

Still, I believe the people living around the lake are indeed special.

After the events of this past weekend, however, I’m more convinced than ever this “cliché,” especially when it’s applied to our area, is true.

I’m sure most of you have heard by now that Cecil’s Public House, a beloved restaurant and meeting place in Alexander City, essentially burned to the ground this past weekend.

Apparently, the fire was caused by a blockage in a dryer vent.

It’s funny how such a small thing like a dryer vent can completely change the lives of so many people.

Anyway, I was out of town over the weekend, so I didn’t hear about the fire until late Saturday afternoon.

My daughter, Amelia, saw the news on Facebook and immediately told my family what had happened.

I was stunned.

I’ve visited Cecil’s many times in the five years I’ve lived in Alex City.

In fact, I had dinner at Cecil’s when I was interviewing for a job at the Outlook in 2007.

I remember I had the blackened catfish – it was excellent.

Over the years I also discovered their chicken salad.

When they put that delicious stuff on sub rolls, it was nothing short of wonderful, a sheer delight to the palate.

Upon hearing the awful news, I thought about the owner, Stacey Jones, and all of her employees.

The next few months will be difficult for each of them as they determine what their futures will be as they sort through the ruble.

Indeed, there will be dark moments ahead, but the one thing they can surely rely on is the love and support of this community.

Even before the fire, the employees banded together and established a “Cecil’s fund” that allowed for the remodeling of the front two dining rooms.

Many good folks in the community contributed to this effort.  Unfortunately, the fire destroyed their hard work.

Regardless, the fact so many people took an interest in sprucing up the restaurant proves this community will step up to the plate again and help out.

In fact, we’ve already seen evidence of this when it was reported in the Outlook on Tuesday that Jake’s restaurant let Stacey use their facilities to cater a party that was planned just hours after the building had burned.

If a direct competitor will offer a helping hand just hours after a crisis, then who knows what this community will do in the coming months.

My feeling is we’ve only seen the beginning of a story that’s going to have a good ending.

Getting back to my original thought, this is just one of many examples about “What’s Right Here” in the Lake Martin area. Seeing a community come together to help a neighbor is a rare thing this day and age.

It’s a good reason to be thankful we live in a community that still holds on to good old fashion values.

I’m very proud to live here. You should be, too.

Roger Steele is general manager and advertising director of The Outlook.