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Sorrow, Grace and the Future

I’m sure many of you have experienced the same emotions I have since first learning about the shooting at Robb Elementary school in Texas. As I am writing this, I am in just flat-out angry mode. These are our children; we are the United States of America, and we must find a way to protect our most vulnerable and innocent as they attend school. I don’t want to hear any political debate about the how, what’s, and why this is happening in our Country. That goes on each and every day; it will solve nothing. I want our children kept safe from the time they get on the bus until the time they get home to hug their parents. The time for party politics is over; the time for the American people to stand up for our children and demand better must happen!

From Washington to every state government, the funds must be provided to keep every school safe. This should be priority number one; no elected officials should be sleeping or allowed out of their office until this is provided. We need the best possible security for our children to match today’s craziness. This security plan was provided by experts, not politicians on a committee, and corporations awarded a bid through lobbyists. The security plan should be implemented before the return of students for the 2022-2023 school year.

The violence occurring across our Country knows no boundary and will not wait for a bunch of state and federal bureaucrats to figure it out.

I pray to God in the name of Jesus to provide help in some way to all those affected by this evil act.

I have a lot of ground to cover this week, some of it more challenging, just like Gary Brown did when he had the football tucked under this arm and ran all the way from Williamsport to the NFL and on through life. Gary did it with such style, grace, and determination. He had the ability to make things look easy when they really weren’t and always seemed to have that trademark smile from ear to ear. He took this amazing football mind and talent and became a coach sharing his knowledge and passion for the game. Wherever he was coaching, 1,000 yard rushers seemed to follow.

I have known Gary and his family since I was very young. You couldn’t find better people, and the Browns’ football legacy stretches far beyond Millionaire land. In recent years most of my conversations have been with his brother Kevin as he paced the sidelines as a Millionaire coach, but Gary’s name always seemed to come up as we talked football and life.

I have been aware of many of the challenges Gary has faced throughout his life, and he always seemed to bounce back with that energy, style, and smile with his wife Kim and family by his side. Gary truly grew from that young Millionaire football player into a remarkable person that had a lifetime full of achievement.

The Brown family and Williamsport Area School District would like me to invite you to a Memorial Celebration of the life of Gary L. Brown Jr. It will be held Saturday, June 4th, at STA Millionaire Stadium. The event will begin at 11 a.m. In the event of inclement weather, it will be held in the Williamsport Area High School Auditorium.

At press time, the last-minute details were still being taken care of. In speaking with Kim Brown, Gary Chrisman, and Williamsport Athletic Director Sean McCann, they all stressed the fact that everyone is invited to honor Gary and remember a life well-lived. There will be music, remembrance, and several guest speakers from throughout Gary’s life journey. I am sure there will be stories that bring laughter and stories that bring tears, all with grace given to God.

One person I know that will be in attendance is Mayor Derek Slaughter. He’s actually a cousin of the Brown boys and played on Williamsport’s 1999 State Championship Basketball Team with Gary’s younger brother, Ryan.

I had the opportunity to sit down with him and talk about all the great things happening around Williamsport this summer, as well as infrastructure plans, but I have run out of words the last couple of weeks. One of the most important topics regarding infrastructure is the Levy Project. The Mayor wanted to thank Congressman Fred Keller for his commitment, specifically in requesting the appropriation of 8 million dollars of his congressional direct spending to the Levy project. The Army Corps of Engineers will be starting the risk assessment in the very near future.

I know the Mayor is working closely with the local, county, state, and federal partners to ensure the Levy is recertified and accredited.

As far as all the happenings in Billtown this summer, Steph, has picked up on the summer calendar of events provided by the Mayor. It’s great to see so much happening and going on downtown, which can be found when you flip the page.

Regarding our cover and the Williamsport Crosscutters opening their season, the Mayor would like to give a shout out to Senator Yaw for his efforts in helping Williamsport secure the RACP Grant for a new video board at Muncy Bank Ballpark at The Historic Bowman Field and encourages everyone to get out and support Crosscutter Baseball!

Let’s all be safe out there. I’ll have more from the Mayor in the coming weeks.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb