• By John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Here’s Johnny!

Five days and about 20 miles apart, two events occurred that speak well of our level of civic engagement.

The second was Monday, when thousands of teachers, including many from Woodford County (see stories beginning on front page) rallied at the state Capitol to protest a hastily-passed pension reform bill. Critics note that, among other things, it passed without having been read by most of the lawmakers who voted on it, hadn’t received an actuarial assessment, and – gulp – took the place of a sewage-related bill.

Woodford County Public School teachers were on spring break, so, unlike some of their counterparts from the rest of Kentucky, they didn’t have to miss school to attend the protest. Many went anyway.

Whatever one thinks of the merits of Senate Bill 151, which critics may come to refer to as “garbage replacing garbage,” the men and women who teach our children cared enough to travel to Frankfort to state their case.

Back home, nearly 200 local folks stated their cases the previous Wednesday at the Life Adventure Center for “On The Table” workshops sponsored by several non-profits. (See story on front page)

Over breakfast, lunch and dinner, they discussed our community’s strengths and weaknesses, apparently with nary a raised voice among them.

For our coverage, we decided to let a participant from each session speak, at length, for themselves.

Whatever comes of it, and the likely follow-up in May, one thing’s clear – we’ve got a lot of people who care about our community.

I learned a bit more about that spirit this weekend when my car stopped cooperating. After it refused to start Saturday, I walked to the nearby Circle K, where a young clerk named Cody helped me find jumper cables and a lady (whose name I’ve forgotten -- sorry, second Good Samaritan!) who provided the jump.

I figured I’d left my dome light on the previous evening and got around fine the rest of the day, so when I got home, I made darn sure my dome light was off. Sunday, my trusty steed once again refused to start (so much for the Easter spirit!) and I realized that neither the dome light nor its user were at fault. I got another jump and proceeded to the Advance Auto Parts store on Crossfield Drive, thinking that perhaps the middle-aged battery I’d purchased from them still had something of a warranty.

I was wrong on that count, but the employees there spent 20 minutes trying to nail down the problem, and when they couldn’t, after I asked, they gave me the number of a man named Cheda.

Cheda Evans, that is.

Darned if Cheda didn’t show up as quickly as a cheetah, on Easter Sunday, no less.

He diagnosed the problem as a bad alternator, which the store had, and had it installed in less than a half-hour.

Neither Advance Auto Parts workers nor Mr. Evans knew of my occupation, and to the best of my knowledge, I received no special consideration as a result of my membership in the Fourth Estate.

What I did receive was the sort of special consideration that seems common in Woodford County; neighbors helping neighbors, or strangers, for that matter.

I’ve never been so happy to pay an automotive bill, or, to be more precise, less unhappy.

Thanks, y’all.

I’m finishing this column Monday afternoon, just in time to drive to Midway for the city council meeting. I’ll be sure to leave the dome light off.

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