When I first moved here, we had a blighted block of Section-8 housing at the entrance to the neighborhood that looked horrendous. Nancy vowed that a linear park could go there, after we took that block down through the civic league. People looked at her like she had two heads. Look at that block twelve years later. We call it Scotts Creek Park.
I don’t talk much about my civic involvement in Portsmouth here on the blog. I’m blessed to live in a neighborhood where a few can make a difference. So when Nancy called me and said that we had to do something about a proposal to build a sulfur processing plant with two 150 foot smokestacks on the Elizabeth River near my house, I listened.
Not to get into a big discussion, but sulfur goes on fire very easily, so companies dampen it when processing to reduce the risk. Mr. Paquette told me that some day I'd need the periodic table, so I should pay attention in chemistry class. He was right. I had to look up the process, but sulfur+water=sulfuric acid, right on a river. Not good. However, never underestimate the power of stealthy, middle-aged co-conspirators.
We even surprised even ourselves as other civic leaders from several communities came on board. In three weeks, the following headline appeared in the local paper:
Company Drops Portsmouth in Plans for Sulfur Plant
Do you ever feel like you are one person and you can’t do too much? It isn’t true. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.”