We were fortunate to have Earl Gohl, federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, visit the Tuskegee-Macon County Public Library and Auburn University on Friday, February 17, 2012. President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Gohl to the position in 2010. The Community and Civic Engagement Initiative has two current projects with the ARC—the Appalachian Teaching Project and a Macon County Youth mentoring program with AU undergraduate students.
Mr. Gohl visited the public library and spoke with Tuskegee University administrator Juanita Roberts, public library director Petre Bridges, librarian Betty Morgan, state ARC program manager Bonnie Durham and four students: Quincy Bentley, Lanequia Coooper, Xavier-Charles Duplessis, Justine Ray. Quincy, Lanequia, and Justine are part-time employees of the library, and Xavier-Charles works part-time at the Tuskegee University Archives.
Mr. Gohl gave students the background on ARC’s work and the reason he was visiting Alabama. During the conversation, he reflected on his own first part-time job, an usher in a movie theater, when he earned .75 per hour and all the stale popcorn he could eat. He gave some important advice regarding employment: Work hard and then work harder. Go above and beyond what is required. Nothing is more important than hard work, whether it be school or an after-school job.
At the luncheon at Auburn University, Gohl was introduced by Community and Civic Engagement Minor Marian Royston and Notasulga High School student Alexis Allen. His remarks centered on the “Appalachian Army,” those important individuals who wake up each day with the purpose of making their lives and communities better. Jim Byard, director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, thanked Gohl for his remarks and suggested that the ARC federal-state partnership is a good example of productive institutional politics in action.