Michael and I moved to Milan in 1999 and 1998, respectively. At first, we had very little involvement with the local community. We both worked and attended church in Jackson and we didn’t have any kids enrolled in Milan schools. So our interaction with the local community was scant.
It wasn’t until 2005 or so that we decided to start attending St. Matthew Catholic Church in Milan. Once there, we finally began to put down roots in the community. Our friendships at church led to opportunities to get involved in Milan and Gibson County. First we joined the community outreach groups at St. Matthew.
I joined the Ladies Guild and Michael joined the Knights of Columbus. That led to an opportunity to serve on the Friends of the Library board which led to opportunities to be involved with the Milan Parents Group, the Zombie Walk and the Gibson County Carl Perkins Center’s Advisory Board. All of these organizations have allowed us to help with a very important need in any community—the support of children.
In most cases, we never meet or even see the children that these organizations help, but we still find the work immensely rewarding. In comparison to what hungry children or abused children go through on a daily basis, our small ways of helping are nothing. If spending 2 hours collecting canned goods means even 1 child can have food to eat over the weekend, then anything we do is worth it.
At times, our involvement can lead to very hectic schedules for us, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I look back at our lives in 1999 compared to today and I know we weren’t really “living” in Milan, or anywhere really. We were merely “existing.” Now we really are a part of the community. And the small, little things we contribute give us so much more than we could ever imagine.