"Hope, Believe, The American Dream!" That's a powerful message delivered by a powerful man. Tchicaya Missamou's story inspired and moved the committee that plans the chamber's annual meeting dinner. We watched a YouTube video and conducted a telephone interview which confirmed that Tchicaya' message is timely and fitting.
The preparations are in full swing for the Marietta chamber's 96th annual meeting on Monday, March 7. The Dyson Baudo Recreation Center on the Marietta College campus will be the venue and we expect a crowd of more than 500 people. "Awe-inspiring" is how one first-time attendee described walking into this huge room filled with people.
The chamber ambassadors, attired in navy blazers with boutonnieres, will be greeting our guests, extending a warm welcome. From 5 to 6 p.m., guests will be able to discover what's new in our community as they chat with the 36 exhibitors. A brief opening ceremony will be followed by dinner served by Marietta High School students at 6:30 p.m.
Hope: From boy soldier to California entrepreneur, Tchicaya Missamou has overcome many obstacles and hardships. From emigrant to U.S. Marine; from the Congo to Afghanistan, Kosovo and Iraq, he never gave up. His story is one of hope. Our hope is that hearing him will give you hope. Hope that we, as a community, will continue to work together to make this river valley a place we are proud to call home. Hope ties in with our pioneer spirit, the internal spirit, given by God, that enables each of us to focus on doing what is right and just; a spirit that gives us the answer in our darkest hour; a spirit that encourages us to keep fighting forward.
Believe: His story inspires and instills a strong sense of belief in our individual abilities to make our lives and our community better. None of us think that we can just believe our way out of this troubling economy; however, we believe that there are two values that go with "Believe." Evolution is the innate understanding that all things - big and small; all things political, social and economic must evolve into something better. We understand every environment provides opportunity to adapt and succeed. It is also innovation, or the ability to understand our environment and adjust our focus to optimize our chances for future success.
The American Dream - it's what brought the first settlers to the Atlantic shores. It is what brought the first 48 pioneers across the mountains to settle in this valley. It what continues to bring people to this country and what inspires entrepreneurs and inventors in our community. It's the free enterprise system; it's the freedom to have a dream and make it happen. It's the longing for independence that we see in the nightly news as the people in the Middle East nations demand the right to elect their leaders and govern their destiny.
We hope that you will come to our 96th annual meeting, have dinner with us; be part of the celebration of our community's best when we honor people who give much to our community and to each of us, yesterday, today and tomorrow. We promise you'll leave filled with hope and believing in The American Dream.
Charlotte Keim, CCEO-AP, is president of the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce, The Riverview Building, 100 Front St., Suite 200, Marietta. Chamber Viewpoint appears every other Monday on Opinion.