Written by: Ladona Weathers, Stone County resident and business owner
I am a proud Stone County resident. I own a home and a business in this county. I am raising kids in the Reeds Spring School District. I don’t have a child, niece, nephew, brother, sister or other relative with a developmental disability, so why do I have VOTE YES! signs in my yard? Why do I share with anyone who will listen that I am voting for the Stone County Developmental Disability Board? Why am I in favor of paying just a little more property tax?
I, probably like you, would prefer to not pay more tax on anything… but I, probably like you, love my neighbors. I am not just talking about my neighbors next door, I mean the folks I see at the classroom party, Friday night football games and Sunday mornings at church. These people, that I feel have my back and support not only me, but my family. I don’t know what it’s like to raise a child with a developmental disability. I don’t know what challenges are faced and overcome everyday by amazing moms and dads, who are just like me.
Here’s what I do know. I know that Adam Gasper (I feel like everyone knows Adam) was one of my little boy’s first friends. Adam is 13 years older than my son, but every time we see Adam he comes running to hug my son and if my son is not with me he asks where he’s at. While sitting in the bleachers cheering on his sister and my step-daughter at volleyball games, a teenage Adam helped teach my toddler son how to share and not see differences, just that they enjoyed playing the same games.
I know that my preschooler comes home with great tales of how he played with another little girl, who doesn’t say much, but that’s okay, “Because she’s my friend.” I know that this little girl has Autism and is almost completely non-verbal. These two preschoolers provide, on a daily basis, an example that I try to emulate. Instead of looking at their differences, they simply know they like to play together.
I know that each time the teenager (who happens to be in a wheelchair) volunteers at church in the preschool Sunday School class, that those kids are going to have an awesome time. She’s going to share with them how special they are and how loved they are.
I know that regardless of whether I have a child with a developmental disability, being a parent is hard. And no matter who you are, life throws us curve balls. Some are bigger and require help from our neighbors. I am voting yes because I love my neighbors and every time I need help they are there, so now I will gladly return the favor with paying a few extra dollars each year in taxes.