In 2016, I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing 10 of Lancaster County’s top leaders in business, education, and politics. As I spoke with them, 2 themes seemed to be almost universal. The first is the one expressed above by Rick Rodgers—that Lancaster is a special place to live and work. Both the Executive Suite residents who have lived here all their lives and those who have lived in other places before becoming integral parts of the Lancaster community expressed the same appreciation for our 984 square mile piece of God’s Green Earth.
Like the achievers whom I’ve met, I share the conviction that Lancaster County is a genuinely exceptional place to live and work, although I’d be happy to do away with this annoying time called winter. I’m highly provincial and a bit of a local history buff, and I always enjoy telling people who aren’t fortunate enough to live here about all the important events that have happened here and about all the significant innovations that have come from and are continuing to come out of Lancaster County.
For example, in times past, famous men such as Milton Hershey and Joseph Wharton were prominent figures in Lancaster County business. Pull a nickel out of your pocket or bite into a Hershey Bar, and you’re connecting to your Lancaster County past. In our age of high technology, Lancaster County is home to modern inventors and innovators, and many residents of the Executive Suite are guiding companies that are developing better ways to help people improve their lives.
While the efforts of all of these leaders are highly instrumental in making Lancaster County a wonderful place to live, two 2016 events that did not take place in the Executive Suite showed me the special spirit of the people in our area. In February, a rare winter tornado did major damage to many buildings in eastern Lancaster County. Almost as soon as the winds had stopped howling, more than 3,000 volunteers, many Amish, converged on the scene and gave their time and labor to help the victims clean up and rebuild. Within a week or so, this mighty volunteer army had repaired almost every damaged building, and the storm victims were quickly able to return to their normal lives.
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