By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
True leadership is a rare quality possessed by very few. There are successful business leaders who achieve fame and fortune through their hard-working staffs—staffs whose motivation comes from a handsome paycheck.
There are military leaders, whose absolute power over their troops is used to gain promotions and glory—this through the pain and dying of the troops under their command.
Then you have self-appointed community civic leaders—leaders who organize people from outside a neighborhood to come in to address problems in an unfamiliar neighborhood. They refer to this as help. I think it would be better defined as enabling.
True leaders do not rely on riches, power or celebrity status as a way to motivate people. True leaders have vision, a vision they are able to articulate in such a way that it motivates those hearing the message to realize the achievement of that vision is a reward in itself. Such a leader is the Rev. Doug Taylor, who along with his wife, Sonya, founded and run The Jesus Party on Bates Street in Lewiston.
On October 5, 2013 they sponsored and organized a neighborhood clean-up of an area of Bates Street between Birch and Maple Streets. This clean-up was carried out by over 25 people. That’s over 25 people living in the area to be cleaned; people who were motivated by the Rev. Taylor’s words and vision for the neighborhood.
This life lesson in cleanliness ended in overwhelming success. Piles of trash were removed from between buildings, lessening the danger of fire. Yards were cleaned and streets were swept, revitalizing the neighborhood and restoring pride in the people living there.
The Rev. Taylor told me that one neighbor bought a trash barrel and chained it to his porch in order to provide a receptacle for trash that would otherwise have been deposited on the street, sidewalk or someone’s yard. Another spruced up his property by whitewashing a portion of it.
The motivation and leadership displayed by the Rev. Taylor is the type of leadership that is needed to bring this neighborhood back. Through leadership the true character of those living there is being brought out.
Carpetbaggers, community activists and outside “do-gooders”—many of them well-intended—fail to grasp the concept that to motivate people, you must make them responsible and hold them accountable for their actions. You don’t excuse them and enable them to continue in their erroneous ways.
The greater majority of those living in this area are decent people. It is leaders like the Rev. Taylor that know how to motivate them and will raise this area into a place that is very livable.
Lewiston is the home of the Dempsey Challenge. For the fifth year in a row, it has attracted thousands of people throughout the country to our community. One weekend a year, Patrick Dempsey and his sister Mary put the Twin Cities on the map. In partnership with Central Maine Medical Center, the Dempsey Center provides hope, courage and healing for those facing an uncertain future due to cancer.
The Center also instills in each patient a spirit of physical and mental aggressiveness known as courage. Medication, chemo therapy, radiation and surgery are tools used to fight this disease. But courage is needed to overcome it.
Those who win this fight are called survivors. If you have a friend, acquaintance or a family member that proudly holds this moniker, speak with them and strive to obtain that type of courage in your daily life. It is definitely the path to success.
The relocation of the Portland Pirates to the Colisée has presented Lewiston, Auburn and the surrounding towns a chance to take off economically. But in order to do this, we have to pack the Colisée. Help our area. Buy a ticket and support the Pirates.
Next week, we will talk about the situation that came up in our last city council orkshop: No Name Pond Beach. I’m still agitated about what I heard.