I compliment my colleagues and friends at the Southern Standard for their recent “40 Under 40” salute to Warren County’s young leaders. I congratulate all who competed for this honor, with special kudos to the 40 young men and women who were selected for this elite group.
As I perused the “40 Under 40” list, I counted 20 I’m proud to know, including my former Motlow students, Jessica Allen, Lauren Zechman Denney, and Michael Griffith, as well as fellow New Union United Methodist Church member Kendra Foust. I know of the other 20, and I view all 40 honorees as high achievers and servant leaders. They richly deserve the recognition the Standard has bestowed upon them.
Had I been paying closer attention to the Standard’s nomination process, I would have gladly provided my own list of nominees for consideration. With nary a trace of nepotism, I ‘m pleased to mention them here: Dylan and Callie Stephens, Jacob and Lauren Bratcher, Josh and Olivia Bratcher, Taylor and Sheree Mullican, and Olliver and Katelyn Teston. Like the “40 Under 40” honorees, they’re all high achievers and servant leaders, in Warren County and way beyond.
Moreover, they’re all under 30.
As stated in the Standard’s “40 Under 40” introduction, “The Warren County universe is filled with shining stars. Our community is brightened by contributions from so many people, young and old.” Since the “40 Under 40” edition has received well-deserved acclaim, I recommend extending the Standard’s salute to other age groups and generations in Warren County.
The next salute could be to Warren County’s “30 Under 30,” followed by “50 Over 50,” “60 Over 60,” and so on. Given the trend toward longer, more productive life in America, these salutes could continue to honor deserving Warren County citizens well into their 70s, 80s, 90s, and maybe even a few centenarians.
To my dear readers who might think I’m a tad too optimistic about the lasting contributions of the elderly among us, I suggest you reconsider your ageist tendencies, and do some homework. The results just might surprise you.
The truth is there are “late bloomers” galore, past and present, in America and abroad. In his entertaining, fascinating, and inspirational little book, “Late Bloomers,” New Yorker writer Brendan Gill looks at “75 remarkable individuals whose greatest achievements occurred or were recognized late in life.” These late bloomers came from different centuries, circumstances, and countries, but have one thing in common: “they all succeeded in making their later years more productive and fulfilling.”
By the way, Gill was no spring chicken himself. He was well into his 80s when he wrote “Late Bloomers.” When he died in 1997, a New Yorker colleague wrote, “Next to him your life couldn’t help looking like something that hadn’t had its morning coffee yet.”
I heartily recommend Gill’s “Late Bloomers” to readers young and old. I’m donating my copy to Magness Library -- after one more reading, that is.
Retired Army Col. Thomas B. Vaughn can be reached at email@example.com.