Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 19, 2011

Sullivan’s Salvos 11/22/11

In this edition:

*Happy Thanksgiving!
*Congratulations Jawon!
*Civility, Or Shooting the Messenger?
*Homeless Children’s Trust
*Did You Know?

*Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday, and I hope you take a moment to reflect on our many blessings.

I know I harp on this quite a bit, but… do you have any idea how rich we all are? If your family of four earns over $47,500 per year, you are among the WEALTHIEST 1% on planet earth.

I am extremely blessed. If you are reading this, you are extremely blessed. I hope you will join me in sharing our blessings over the holiday season and beyond.

*Congratulations Jawon!
Iowa Kids Net recently held an event to acknowledge National Adoption Month. They chose a local young person to be the spokesperson, and I would like to tell you a bit about him. (He told this story publically, so I feel comfortable sharing it.)

Jawon Walker was born in Gary, Indiana. His father was in prison, and his mother had drug and alcohol problems. His mother moved him to Iowa City when he was 5.

Jawon ended up in foster care at age 9. Even though he was always smart and polite, Jawon was very down on himself. He did not trust any adults.

Fast forward to today. Jawon lives in rural Shueyville with his parents, Chad & Jennifer Streit. He is a Senior at Prairie High School and an honor student. He is the Student Body President and Homecoming King. Jawon is involved in choir, show choir, speech and drama, and the Cedar Rapids NAACP. He has an internship at Rockwell Collins, and will be attending the University of Iowa in the fall. When he starts college, Jawon will have over 20 hours of college credit earned at Kirkwood.

Even more incredible than his accomplishments is his bravery. At age 16, Jawon went to court. The Streits put no pressure on him; they told him to follow his heart. With his birth mother in the room, Jawon told the judge that he wanted to sever that tie and be adopted. I cannot imagine how difficult this had to be.

I am incredibly proud of Jawon Walker. Melissa and I are honored to have served as his foster parents, and we are glad he is still a part of our lives. We are very thankful to Chad and Jennifer, but mostly, we are thankful to Jawon.

Not every adoption story is quite so remarkable. But every one gives a child a permanent family. Every one is remarkable in its own way.

Yes, I am biased. I have three adopted children of my own. Yet 250,000 children nationwide still need families. We would love you to join us as adoptive parents. Even if you can’t, there are things you can do to help.

I hope you will each do something during the month of November to recognize National Adoption Month.

*Civility, Or Shooting the Messenger?
Civility is a popular buzzword right now, particularly when talking politics. Polls show that voters want civility. Frankly, I think those polls are #*^@$%!

Seriously – the focus on civility is a red herring. Civility is good, sure. But we need results. We are lacking in moral courage, not civility.

Want some examples? Point out that the rich are getting richer, and you are guilty of “class warfare”. Point out that Coralville TIFs hurt Johnson County, and you are not being “civil”. Point out that someone has cheated or broken the law? You are not being “civil”.

Civility is used as an excuse for the failure to discuss anything of substance. This is why any and all joint meetings between various elected bodies are exercises in futility – we do not want to address real issues. We want to hide behind a fake civility.

It reminds me of a dysfunctional family: Uncle Joe has a drinking problem, sure – but the person who brings it up is the focus of family scorn. We shoot the messenger, and forget what she was trying to say.

Yes, the world would definitely be a better place if folks discussed things civilly. But be careful! The “lack of civility” is a Trojan horse, used to kill any meaningful discussion. Don’t want to talk about a touchy subject? Easy –just complain about the “lack of civility” on the part of the person who brought it up.

What we need are people of character, not people who are civil. We need people committed to honesty, stewardship, kindness, generosity, and courage. We need more frank discussions, not less. We may lack civility, but it is our lack of political courage that is killing us.

*Homeless Children’s Trust
The Homeless Children’s Trust is once again making the holidays special!

On Saturday, December 3rd the most needy children in Johnson County will be entertained at the Iowa City Moose Club while their parents shop for Christmas gifts at K Mart. There will be great entertainment and lots of wonderful food furnished by Jim Mondanaro.

Put this event on your calendar and come join the party. The party starts at 9:00am and Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at noon. Gift bags are given to all the kids and the party ends shortly after 1 PM.

Any questions please call Mary Larew at 338-1212 (days) or 337-2264 (home).

*DID YOU KNOW? Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt were all cousins through one connection or another. FDR and Eleanor were about five times removed.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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