It’s time to enjoy ‘Building Blocks’ again

Published 11:00 pm Friday, February 24, 2012

It’s been a while since I played with building blocks – probably a dozen years since the boys were young enough to take those blocks and build tower after tower on the floor, before tumbling them down and rebuilding again.

Even at the youngest age, it seems children intrinsically understand how blocks can build a foundation … a solid base that can hold a mighty tower, stacked higher and higher towards the sky.

As we brainstormed ideas for our Profile 2012 edition, the concept of building blocks kept coming to the surface. Not just the primary-colored wooden blocks of our youth, but something more substantial, more important: the building blocks of our community.

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And when we started to develop a newsplan, to talk with advertisers and businesses, those building blocks were so easy to spot:

The historic businesses like Stinson’s Barbershop in Brundidge and Byrd’s Drugs in downtown Troy, both of which have long anchored the heart of our communities. They stand as representatives for many others – from Douglas Bros. to the Piggly Wiggly stores to banks and lawyers, car dealers and real estate agencies – whose historic and locally owned businesses are a lifeline for our economy and our identity as a community.

The Troy Municipal Airport, where the vision of the mayor and city council – along with tireless efforts to secure federal funding – have created a state-of-the-art runway system that belies our community’s size and expands the accessibility of Pike County and surrounding areas.

The lessons learned at the knee of a legendary football coach, Bear Bryant, whose teachings about football and life have helped shape the success of business leader and Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage.

Each in its own way is a building block of our community: our economy, our infrastructure, our people and their determination, their spirit, their vision.

The end result is that shiny blue-covered edition inside your Messenger today: “Building Blocks: The ABCs of Pike County.” It’s our journey, with you, through our Pike County home. We share stories from some fascinating people – a self-proclaimed river rat to our local Ironmen – and we explore the different segments of our economic base, from agriculture to peanuts to the relationships between Troy University and its surrounding community.

And, truth be told, the edition couldn’t come together without a few building blocks of our own – the energetic and dedicated staff at The Messenger who’ve worked tirelessly for months to produce this edition: The editorial staff, including writers Robbyn Brooks, Wes Johnson, Jaine Treadwell and intern, John Mann, as well as photographers Thomas Graning and Wendy Ward, all of whom share an enthusiasm for finding and telling meaningful and engaging stories; our marketing staff, Jason Killingsworth, Brooke Smith and Sommer Tate, who’ve worked hand-in-hand with our local businesses and industries in Pike County to tell their stories in the edition; our creative services staff, Katherine Johnson and Whitlee Mullis, whose eye for design crafted the edition; and our distribution staff, Jonathan Hetrick and circulation manager Tasha Tice who drove through driving storms on Friday to collect the editions from our printer and deliver them.

They’re a wickedly funny and talented group of individuals who relish the opportunity to shine a positive light Pike County.

Truth be told, we could have written dozens more stories about our building blocks, if time and space had allowed.

But for now, we hope you’ll settle in with a cup of coffee ad Profile 2012 and enjoy “Building Blocks: The ABCs of Pike County.”

Stacy Graning is publisher of The Messenger. She can be reached at