Commonwealth
July 11, 2017

Commonwealth

            Every community, regardless of size and location, has twelve crucial resources that serve as the basis of forming a municipality. As I have engaged in my internship in Swisher County, I have noticed all twelve key assets. Some are more apparent than others, but never the less, if you look close enough and ask around you will be sure to find all of them and discover how they intertwine and rely on each other.

Swisher County has three main towns, within each town you can find each asset; health, food shed, water cycle, wildlife and the natural world, arts and culture, soil and mineral cycle, education, renewable energy, history, leisure and recreation, spirituality, and sense of place. However, I would like to focus on the county as a whole, because as I grew up in this community, I soon began to realize that everyone in Swisher County has a job to do in order to keep our communities thriving, and each town from Claytonville to the county seat, Tulia depend on one another.

I noticed that health, wildlife and the natural world, and spirituality seem to be the most abundant Commonwealth. Tulia has a clinic, hospital, and rehab all in one location that provides local jobs, education, and health services to all in Swisher County and surrounding areas. We have two pharmacy’s in Tulia, one is locally owned and operated, while the other is part of a chain. We have a chiropractor and a halfway house. The Senior Citizen’s also helps provide home meals delivered to valetudinarians in Happy, Tulia, and Kress. I had the honor to work with the wonderful volunteers and to help put a smile on someone’s face. A large portion of the land in Swisher county is either farm or ranch land. Tule Lake used to be operational and many locals enjoyed having a weekend getaway less than ten miles from town, sadly the lake was drained and has remained unused for many years now. Swisher 4-H is planning on a new project specifically for outdoor activities such as fishing, wildlife habitats and much more, that focuses on teaching the kids how to engage in outdoor activities and how to protect our ecosystem. Even if you live in town, it does not take much to surround yourself in nature, and farming tends to be the major entity and provider. Spirituality has a very important role in setting the ethics, morals, and is closely tied to a sense of place. Currently listed on google maps, there are twenty churches. Spirituality provides the opportunity to create a close-knit community that embraces and builds one another up as well as a time for members to engage in fellowship.

In each town, there are community gardens, local farmer’s market, and a food pantry operated by the churches. In Tulia, there is a Lowe’s grocery store and a Shopko. The county library and museum are in the same building and make a huge effort to include all communities. Tulia is also the home of Kenneth Wyatt. One of the most unique events that take place in Swisher county is the County Picnic. Every year the entire county come together and enjoy music, booths, cruising a downtown street, and food each night of the week. At the end of the week, there is a parade, followed by a huge picnic at the park accompanied by a ranch rodeo and dance that evening. This event includes all assets and has helped preserve the cordial atmosphere.

In my opinion, sense of place is a personal matter that needs more cultivating by the individual. The community can host activities to promote a sense of place, but at the end of the day, that individual must decide to involve themselves in the community and ensure to welcome others with open arms. Sense of place is how the community looks at itself, and how the citizens see each other as one big family. It is the one key asset that affects how well the community is going to grow. As a resident of Swisher County, the way the County views itself is one of despair, poverty, and low self-worth. I feel that this can be resolved eventually by each community bringing a more positive attitude and a willingness to work together as a team with every communal activity. The citizens need to step and become more involved rather than being a bystander.

Swisher Co. Picnic
Agriculture is a major part of Swisher County!
Swisher Memorial Healthcare System