And the Beat Goes On
by David Morgan, Lawrence County Executive
All of us fill many roles in our lives. I am a husband, father, son, brother, and uncle. I serve on boards, coach kids’ sports, and raise cattle. I am the senior pastor of United Church and now, Lawrence County Executive.
In all these roles I benefit from others’ examples. When my father, Tony Morgan Sr., retired as senior pastor at United, I stepped into that position with confidence because I learned from him how to serve a church with great wisdom and love.
The same is true of my newest role. For eight years, I watched T.R. Williams lead our county with integrity and wisdom. Lawrence County is much better because of his leadership, and I am better able to continue that work because of his support and friendship. The cooperative transfer of leadership from TR to myself is a first in recent Lawrence County history.
I met T.R. when the Lawrence County Drug Coalition (now Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition) held its initial meeting with local clergy, and I became the first to chair its faith-based division. A representative from the state of Tennessee was there, asking congregations to support people who are in substance abuse recovery. It inspired and informed my own and United’s effort to establish Living Free and 8Oaks, local faith-based recovery programs.
Of equal impact was my introduction to T.R. I saw his values played out in everything he did, and it cemented my belief that people of faith belong in public office. His advice and prayers helped me decide to enter the race for County Executive. He encouraged me through the long campaign season and I will continue to learn from him in the years to come.
T.R. and I have various things in common, including one thing you
may not know: we are both drummers. I never played with a rock band, I honed my skills in a worship band, but the skills a drummer needs are the same no matter where or what they play.
Amazingly, you can find blogs for and about drummers online. One, titled “Characteristics of great drummers” is a list that could also describe the attributes of great public servants.
1. Persistence - Great drummers work hard and push themselves in order to improve. Any issue in our community that needs my attention will get it until it is resolved.
2. Patience – A drummer’s skills do not appear overnight, they must practice the rudiments. I know I have much to learn and will not jump ahead to tackle issues I don’t understand thoroughly.
3. Passion – Drummers are better when they are passionate about what they’re doing. I am passionate about Lawrence County and will serve it with all I have.
4. Willingness to capitalize on constructive criticism – Drummers should put aside feelings of defensiveness and offense and recognize well-intentioned advice. I learned music from four older brothers so “feelings” were not always welcomed – haha! I pledge to listen to well-intentioned advice and use sound judgement as County Executive.
5. Feel – “Feel” is hard to define, but it is both a characteristic and a skill that drummers learn with practice. It’s all about your sense of timing. I define “feel” as a combination of experience and intuition that will help me find the best and simplest answer to issues that face us.
6. Adaptability – Drummers should learn to be flexible, ready to take on any challenge that comes their way. I will approach every situation with a fresh view, without preconceived ideas that discount changing circumstances.
7. Time keeping - One of the drummer’s main responsibilities in a band is to keep time. If the band’s timing is off, the drummer must speak up.
A County Executive only votes to break a (very rare) tie vote at a Commission meeting, but we offer Commissioners advice and direction. I take that responsibility very seriously.
8. Active listening - A great drummer always makes sure to listen to and get an overall understanding of a song before they jump in. I pledge to fully understand any issue before I make any decision.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to follow T.R. Williams and continue his good work. I ask for your prayers and support as I take on this wonderful, challenging opportunity.