A few weeks ago I was talking to a sales rep from a national publishing firm. She asked several questions about Marietta. Where exactly is your town located? What type of health care is available locally? How about education? What do people do for recreation? Tell me why people want to live in southeastern Ohio.
Here's what I told her: Marietta is in southeastern Ohio located at the confluence of two rivers, the Ohio River and the Muskingum. We're in the Appalachian foothills, but we're far from isolated. Marietta is only two hours away from our state capital, and an easy drive to Pittsburgh, Charleston or Cleveland.
Health care? We've got that covered with Memorial Health Systems, which has over 200 beds at Marietta Memorial and Selby General provides more than 90 physicians with over 37 medical specialties. With a cardiac center and the Strecker Cancer Center, patients can obtain care without traveling far from home. For the second year in a row, Marietta Memorial Hospital received the HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award; one of only 238 hospitals in the USA so recognized.
Education? Well, we've got that one covered. Marietta College has been named "Best in the Midwest" by U.S. News & World Report; "Best Midwestern College" by Princeton Review; and "Best in the Nation" by Forbes.com. That's not all! At Washington State Community College (WSCC), students are learning technical skills or gaining a foundation in preparation for entering a four-year degree program. There's more as The Career Center is providing hands-on training for area employers and employees. Marietta College, The Career Center and WSCC - preparing tomorrow's workforce today.
Recreation? That's covered as well with the Rivertrail Bike Path, Muskingum Water Trail, North Country Trail, boating on the rivers, an aquatic center and community pools, Wayne National Forest, numerous city parks, Broughton's Nature and Wildlife Education Area, Kroger Wetlands, plus organized sports leagues and exciting school sports events. Add in the museums, theaters, musical shows at area restaurants and it's hard to find time to watch a television show.
After the chamber's 96th annual meeting, our keynote speaker, Tchicaya Missamou, wrote on his Facebook page:
"Before I arrived in Marietta, Ohio, I was warned that I may not see colored people, that some may have never see a black man before or my accent will not be well received etc. Well I may confess that people of Marietta are the best crowd I ever spoken to. I was received with warm arms in local school and businesses.
Some took me to lunch with them, others invited me to dinner with their families and friends. Signed books here and there. My accent or color were not a handicap Dear friends, life is all about how you connect with people and not about where you came from. Let's all embrace life and open ourselves to the universe?
I love you Marietta, thank you for the opportunity and looking forward to next year.
God bless America."
A refugee from the Congo, a U.S. Marine, and now a U.S. citizen, Tchicaya's message of Hope and the American Dream resonated with the audience that night. We also honored local citizens who give much to this community through their volunteer work and who built successful businesses. 2010 brought many challenges that tested our resiliency, and 2011 is testing our resolve. Yet we hope and believe and fight for the American Dream.
The best part of living here? It's you, the people who live and work here. Visitors get a warm, gracious welcome, and if you're in need, you'll be amazed at support and assistance in times of adversity, as witnessed during our recent flood.
Reminder: Professional Women's Roundtable, 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, at the Lafayette Hotel; RSVP by calling (740) 373-5176 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.