In 1986, Janet Jackson broke through on the Pop and R&B Charts with a little ditty, “What have you done for me lately?” and that refrain has become ingrained in our popular culture today. We’ve all heard it – perhaps some customer or client feels your performance doesn’t measure up today no matter what you might have done yesterday. An employee is dissatisfied or feels unappreciated no matter what you might have done for them recently. Maybe it’s a family member who thinks you’re unreasonable despite the sacrifices you might have made on their behalf in the past. As a Chamber of Commerce representing 1,100 members, you are going to hear that line occasionally. It’s the reason we work so hard to make our membership aware of the programming and opportunities available to them.
Last month, I was surprised when I attended a BusinessWorks program and at the conclusion, the co-chairmen announced they had come to the part of the program that was entitled, “What has my Chamber done for me lately?” It was led by Joe Carbon, who himself, was recently diagnosed with cancer. You might recall last month I wrote about Joe as the unidentified Chamber Member who compared this organization to a family. Joe talked about the outpouring of support in his battle to lick the “Big C”. There were few dry eyes in the room as we recognized how much he loved the folks in the room and how much they returned that feeling. Another member, Kevin Cole, spoke about how he saw first hand the seven touches of the Chamber. Nearly every client he had could be traced back to our Chamber. Members around the room talked about how the relationships they made in the Chamber paid off for their business and I left there feeling great!
But none of that could compare to the conclusion of my week. That Saturday, I joined several hundred volunteers and boat hosts in hosting kids at Big Day at the Lake 5. I was the guest of Huntersville Commissioner Brian Sisson and his family as we entertained Charlene Whitaker (Big) and Zion Black (Little) on Brian’s boat and Jet Ski. At first timid, Zion really opened up and you just about had to pry her off the Jet Ski. All of the kids and their Big Brother / Big Sisters were then treated, along with the hosts, to lunch at the Energy Explorium. I had to leave early to attend Bob & Louise Cashion’s 5oth Wedding Anniversary. There, as I moved from table to table, person to person, I was enthralled with stories about how Bob & Louise had impacted our community over their lifetime together. I wasn’t surprised at the stories. I’ve heard them many times before and witnessed their community leadership firsthand. Their generosity is renown throughout the lake region. The Cashion’s have spent a lifetime of sharing their success. They have used the gifts God has provided and left their community a much better place than they found it. They are truly a community treasure.
When I laid my head down on my pillow that night after a long but wonderful day, I couldn’t help but think how fortunate I am to work and live in the Lake Norman region. It was a day when kids, most from single parent families, walked on sunshine. Their laughter and splashes heard from the Energy Explorium to Cashion’s Cove. Where the love, charity, and compassion ran as deep as the lake itself. And I witnessed a community return thanks to two very inspirational and special people. It was a very good day. It was my big day at the lake.