The Community as social network
In this county people get to know each other and while we may not be one big happy family, we share a lot of information on how people are doing, who needs help, and who can provide help. You also know who is out of work and can help you out on tasks where you need help
A few minutes of conversation in any spot where people gather will garner you enough information to buy or sell almost anything and can lead you to find employment or a helping hand when all else fails. This rural telegraph also carries news of illnesses and other hardships where you might lend a helping hand.
I lived for many years in communities where we did not know the last names of our immediate neighbors and had no meaningful contact with them. We rarely did business with or exchanged help with these neighbors.
Living in Floyd Virginia for the past 4 years has been a welcome change. This county has a network of people who expect to work with each other and look after each other in times of need. It adds a new dimension to life when you have someone to turn to other than immediate family.
The economics of a connected community
No community can support itself without exchanging labor and goods with the outside world, but buying local and hiring local talent provides positive feedback that can energize a community in many ways. Buying local is not just a nice concept, it aids the economic survival of the county and enhances one's own financial security. Money that is spend on local purchases increases the amount of money that is put in circulation in the local community.
My framing business exists because word-of-mouth recommendations keep sending customers to me. I was eventually forced to develop sophisticated framing techniques to keep up with expanding business volume and more complex requirements. Even so, I find that I am working longer hours than I ever expected.
As my framing workload increases, I need to hire others to do some of the chores that I used to do. Some of these chores are physical challenges that I am not able to deal with yet and other chores can be done better and faster by others who need the work.
When I can hire some one to help with repairs and minor construction projects, this frees me up to do work that I cannot outsource. The end result is that I can reduce my stress level and provide employment for others. We all benefit.
The circle gets completed. My business grows from recommendations by clients and their friends. As my workload increases, I can share in the economic benefits by hiring others who need employment and we all benefit to the extent that we can contribute to each other.
People who are helpful
Some people have been very helpful in many different ways. Here are a few whom I recommend highly:
Ann and Rodger Bower, they have helped us out whenever we needed a helping hand. They run a farm near us and have many different skills. Ann is an Avon Distributor and works for several businesses in Floyd. (745-3020)
Bob Eich is the contractor who built my workshop with its pine-paneled interior and finished off our modular home. I have recommended him to others for challenging renovations and he does a great job. (651-3180)
Michael Shortt, Shortt's Excavating (745-2817), was an incredible source of advice and encouragement when we were building our modular home. He cleared our land and put in our septic system and most importantly, he introduced us to the contractors who put the finishing touches on our home.
He also handled the takedown of a dangerous and crumbling silo at the Jacksonville Center.
I am sure that many of you know of others in the Floyd Community who are in a position to provide help to those of us who cannot always do for ourselves what we used to. Feel free to add your recommendations in the comments.