Prosper Waco

My thanks go to civic leader Bill Clifton for his Sunday column, “Why Prosper Waco will benefit area,” an excellent contribution to educating our community about the Prosper Waco initiative. I especially appreciate that he highlighted qualities of this effort that may make this different from what might have been done the past three or four decades to deal with what is the “unconscionable” number of households in the grip of poverty. It has been and remains so devastating in the lives of so many fellow Wacoans.

Most importantly, Clifton describes the “bottom-up” design of this collective initiative, which utilizes the “worker bees already in the trenches” who, in their vocation or volunteer efforts, work within the focus areas of health care, education and financial security to make a difference in the lives of all of our citizens. In my years of involvement in efforts to rein in the rampant poverty of our community, I’ve never seen so many diverse folks putting time, energy and skill into this effort. It is a beautiful thing to behold.

I add one thing in this regard, which is another component of Prosper Waco. It’s called the Community Engagement Council (CEC): As I understand it, the CEC is “bottom-up” in another essential way in that it includes individuals who are active and live in East, North and South Waco, where the levels of poverty are greatest and where the greatest barriers exist to good health care, effective education and opportunities to obtain real financial security. It is important to not only involve citizens who live this poverty in their daily lives but provide multiple opportunities to listen to them in this evolving conversation.

As I understand the CEC, it exists to provide opportunities for them to not only hear about the Prosper Waco efforts that can impact their lives but to provide settings for them to be heard in response, even as these initiatives are being developed. I know much can be learned by any of us who would presume to implement measurable changes to enhance the lives of all by listening to these folks and hearing their thoughts on community plans and ideas.

Kenneth Moerbe, Waco

Check the oil

Your picture of the Gulf station at 15th and Washington in the Trib brought back fond memories. I worked at the station for two summers when I was in high school at Axtell. This was in 1947 and 1948, when the station was owned by Ozzie Vana.

We washed cars, did oil changes, washed windshields and, in general, did things that pleased the customers. Those were in the good ol’ days before Elvis got fat and Nixon lied to us all on TV, when men were men and proud of it, when service stations performed real service for customers. I quickly became an expert at oil changes and tuneups on all kinds of automobiles. We also fixed flat tires and vacuumed cars for our customers.

Joseph Bays, Waco