Richmond is filled with signs of success and the past few weeks have shown evidence that this is true. I have had the privilege of participating in events held by businesses and organizations which have been here for quite some time and which are putting into place the things that will keep them strong and productive for a while.
Before mentioning events that our community has hosted, I want to commend our Police Department for its service in the past year and for the special accomplishments of its officers and staff. Those accomplishments were acknowledged at the now annual awards and recognition banquet held a few weeks ago at the Perkins Conference Center at EKU. The department's families and the city's officials and others joined together to celebrate those things that we would not ordinarily come to know about the work of our officers and staff. Because of their skill, knowledge and personal commitment, those men and women saved lives and protected property. They made our community a safer place where we all can live and work each day. I am happy to have the privilege to work with them.
The past couple of weeks saw an addition to our industrial parks with the groundbreaking for a third manufacturing plant for the Asahi Forge Group. The 80-plus jobs that this facility will provide will continue to help families and to support our economy. An Asahi representative said that in the future their operation wants to become Richmond's biggest taxpayer. That's promising news!
All of our celebrating is not in the business economy. For the past 25 years, we have hosted the Special Olympics of Kentucky, an opportunity for youth and adults who live with challenges and difficulties to compete in athletic events. EKU serves as the site for the annual gathering, and the city provides support in many ways. I met several of the participant-athletes and coaches and their families and found them to be quite inspiring. It pleased me even more that we could serve as the co-host for such a fine contribution to the lives of those persons who come to the Special Olympics each year.
A few days ago, The Richmond Area Arts Council (RAAC) celebrated 30 years of providing enrichment to the life of this community through the arts. Sponsors and supporters gathered to reflect on the work of the past years while listening to some great live music and enjoying some refreshments. Representatives of various community programs and groups shared conversation and the County Judge/Executive gave a proclamation celebrating the Arts Council's work.
I have found that we sometimes are so attracted to things we see in other towns and communities that we miss the things that are right before our eyes. As we promote Richmond as a wonderful place to live, work and play, we do so with the confidence that it really is just that.
I encourage us to take the time to find out who we are and to discover why business, industry and the arts have successfully settled down here. Learn about this wonderful place and become involved in those things that have continued to make us a successful community by many standards. We host success!