Sunday, January 6, 2019

A personal message from BATs Interim Executive Director, Melissa Tomlinson

Camden buried one of its own Friday. Unfortunately, that statement rings true most days, if not every day. Mervin Ragsdale was a giant in the community and I heard so many people tell about how he loved the people in his city, city worker, coach, mentor, father, uncle, grandfather, and husband. His story is not mine to tell. There are so many people that he touched that bear that responsibility, to make sure that tales of his daily work and love of others continues to be known. 

Truthfully, Merv was someone that I had only met briefly. He was the husband of a sister warrior that I have come to love. I love her for her strength, her devotion, and her dedication to what is just. Merv was the person she always mentioned having to get home to, or that she knew was missing her. Merv was her travel companion, and her partner, and her best friend. But more than that, Merv was her support, her her rock, her center. 
I began to think about other people that I know, and how so many of them have that person that stands strong in the background of their work. The silent sacrifices that they give so that their partner can attend meetings, join conference calls, organize actions, travel to conferences that sometimes pull us away for days at a time. But no matter how many new and exciting people that are met, there is always a reason to go home. There is comfort in knowing that the outside light has been left on for the late night homecoming, that the dishes would be done after you had to rush out the door to get to the next meeting, that other household tasks have somehow been completed without barely a recognition from you that they needed to be done. Looking up from your computer and refocusing on your surroundings to see a plate of food being placed next to you fills you with more than just nourishment. Going to sleep in an already next to someone warms more than just your toes. 
The people behind the people. We all have people that are behind us, informally or formally. Supporting in large or small ways it is often a thankless task. Sometimes they may feel ‘less than’ because they are not in the middle of whatever it is that is going on. But as I look at you today, I see that you are so integral in the fabric of this life. As I look at you today...I 
From me to you, thank you. 

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