Persistence, determination will carry us

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 06:20 PM.

The most recent figures from the N.C. Department of Commerce showed that unemployment rates increased across North Carolina’s 100 counties in January. Eastern counties like Craven (10.8 percent), Carteret (10.6), Jones (10.7), and Onslow (9.6) all saw increases in unemployment over the December 2012 rates.

This is bad news for recovery from the lengthy recession we’ve endured. And the furloughs that many federal employees are facing, possibly beginning next month, will add to those percentages and to our unemployment woes. More than 10,000 out-of-work human beings — 10,000 real people — are represented in just those numbers from those four counties.

One bright spot in the ugly unemployment picture is something I pass by every day driving from eastern Onslow County to work at Cherry Point. It is a little red-roofed business on Queens Creek Road just outside Swansboro. Every time I see this place, it reminds me of the human spirit, the will to succeed and the persistence spoken by President Calvin Coolidge who said, "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

"Press on" definitely defines the people whose business occupies this little white cinder block building with a red metal roof. The building started out as an empty, non-descript, windows-boarded-up, leaky-roofed, busted-up parking area, apparently abandoned since I transferred here from Washington, D.C., as an active-duty Marine in 2002. It was just there. Empty. Deserted. Overgrown. Surrendered to nature and human circumstances, whatever they may have been.

In a way, the building became a sad representative of the recession itself. Every day I passed by and wondered why it sat so lonely and forgotten for so long. Then one day activity bustled where the crickets had roamed!

The sad, non-descript building was soon transformed into a standout. Workers painted its dingy, gray cinderblock walls with a bright, white paint. New glass adorned its boarded-up, broken windows. The interior was cleaned and fixed up. The grounds were clipped and pruned and the parking lot repaired. A new red-painted metal roof topped the little building’s transformation.

What would occupy this pretty little space that just seemed to be aching for success? A sweepstakes business! Soon "sweepstakes" flags beckoned one and all to stop in and try their luck.

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