Ottumwa is an
Ladies and gentlemen of Ottumwa … THIS is what you are. After completing my military career, I moved my wife and four small children to Ottumwa. After spending my life traveling and moving all over the world, I now started what my dad (also a military officer) would call “civilian roots.” Several months into my new “assignment,” he called and asked me, “Can you raise your family there?” All I could think of to say was, “Geez Pop, it’s like living in Mayberry. The people here are amazing.”
It’s been five years now. Dad passed away last year, but if he called me today and asked me that same question, I would tell him: Dad, let me tell you about this place. Yesterday the kids had a lemonade stand in the front yard. It was a fundraiser for the Moore Schools in Oklahoma that were hit by the recent tornados. At one point in the day I looked around and there was our senator in shorts on the front lawn, setting up a bouncy castle for the kids ... a representative from the Humane Society talking with the owner of a local heating and cooling company and a school teacher while they all dropped donations into the jar … a member of the sheriff’s department talking to a neighbor who was busy delivering a donation from the local hardware store … cars, motorcycles, cyclists, joggers and moms with strollers stopping by the dozens, handing donations to the kids ... let’s see THAT in a big city! Ottumwa, THIS is what you are: Amazing people.
Later this week we will be mailing more than $1,300 in donations along with the clothes, cards and well wishes from the people of Ottumwa. Thank you for responding to the needs of another small American community less fortunate than ours and in doing so, showing my kids the kind of community we are lucky enough to be a part of!