Lorena city manager’s message to the citizens of Lorena

(From Waco’s COVID-19 Community Newsletter)

We are living in unique times, but if you had the opportunity to survey any of our ancestors, they would also say they lived in unique times that were full of challenges that they had to face head on to overcome. During these days of both COVID-19 and everything being witnessed on the nightly news, I often think about my grandfather on my father’s side of the family. My great grandfather worked at Gulf Oil in Port Arthur, Texas, and upon his untimely death, Gulf Oil contacted my grandfather, who was only 17-years-old, and offered him a job. From that day, my grandfather began supporting his mother and his two siblings. Like his father before him, he earned what was considered “half wages” due to the world being enveloped in what is now being referred to as the “Great Depression.” He married my grandmother when they were both 18, but at age 20, he was drafted into the United Stated Navy due to the beginning of World War II. Once the war ended, he went back to work and retired after his 40th year at what he called “The Gulf.”

My grandfather’s story was not unique for his time, and his generation went on to be heralded as the “Greatest Generation” this country has ever known. However, what I remember from growing up with my grandfather was the countless lectures about me being a picky eater. He would say, “Back in my day, you ate what got put on your plate!” All the while, my step-grandmother was in the kitchen grating extra cheese to put on my pizza. You gotta love grandmothers.

Today, our world, nation, state and local area continues to deal with exposure to COVID-19. I do not see myself as an expert on this matter, but I do know that it continues to be present and we must not act like it does not exist; however, I am not writing you to today to scare anyone. My intention is to let my hometown of Lorena know that the Mayor, City Council and city staff are working everyday to ensure the City of Lorena is open and providing services during this difficult time. The City of Lorena has passed 8 declarations since the beginning of COVID-19. Since the second declaration, the City of Lorena has followed McLennan County’s lead in issuing declarations, and we will continue to do so now and in the future.

I have served the City of Lorena for four-and-a-half years as your City Manager, and if you ask my staff, they will tell you that when it comes to our city, school or citizens I always tell people: “We spell Lorena with an “L”. The meaning of that statement may vary from subject to subject when applied, but during these uncertain times it means that the City of Lorena is made up of folks that are kind in heart and spirit. We will persevere, and we will handle this time in history with the grace and dignity of a community that loves and cares about each other. The same way my 17-year-old grandfather supported his mother and two siblings during the Great Depression, then served his country in World War II and returned home to work a total of 40 years before retiring to lecture me about my eating habits.

Note: Continue to Look for “What’s Happening in Lorena.” The video-based series just concluded shooting Episode 5, featuring Dr. Joe Kucera, superintendent of Lorena ISD. The video should be released the first week of July 2020 on the Lorena Police Department Facebook page and shared with other social media platforms.

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