Letter to the Editor: Matthew Wells

To the community:

This is a copy of the speech I gave Tuesday evening at the commission meeting.

As a general rule I try to stay off social media. I have found it to be a hotbed of divisive rhetoric and peoples attempt to sow not only the division but what seems like downright hatred. I’m a firm believer that words carry weight , the Scriptures teaches us the power of life and death is in the tongue, proverbs 18:21

Over the last few weeks it has come to my attention the people throughout our community are venting a tremendous amount of untrue statements, division, and attempts to draw people in to making post that are against everything that I believe the Lord has called us here to do.

I am asking each and everyone of you here around the table, within our community, and within our town, to make a decision here and now. Are you for Fort Scott, or are you against it.

On the cover, this would seem like a very basic statement, as bold as it might be, yet basic in nature. But I pose it to you in this ideal.

We are a team, if you have decided in your heart and in your mind that Fort Scott is the community that you wish to be a part of, that you have decided to be a part of this team.

A team by nature does not tear itself apart, if it does those are the teams that you see fail game after game because there is no sense of family, no community, or tribe.

A successful team is a team that builds each other up, regardless of whether you are an active player on the floor or on the field does not impede the fact that you are there to help out the team. This means instead of yelling derogatory remarks from the sidelines,  you are to be the kind of team player that lifts up your teammates and calls them to be better, play harder, and remind them we are in this together.

I see a Fort Scott we are going to be the kind of people that are here to help our neighbors, that honor each other by seeking an opportunity to carry the heavy burdens that weigh down upon each and everyone of us each day. I see the Fort Scott where we lift each other up, not tear each other down.

I know it is so easy to get drawn into the trap of negativity pointing out what is wrong, with everything that’s going on around you. But I challenge you instead of pointing out what’s wrong, come up with an idea on how to make it better, and then implement that change. A wise man once said become the change that you wish to see in this world.

And for those who feel that they have no voice, know that there is always an opportunity at the beginning of each and every committee meeting for you to come and speak to this commission.

We are here to hear you.

Maybe we have not done a good enough job of letting you know that, perhaps we have not been able to communicate that we have a program in place that allows you to input when there are lightbulbs that need to be changed, potholes that need to be filled, or anything else that you see that needs to be addressed.

I would find a true blessing to know instead of just few sets of eyes driving around trying to find all the problems that we have a whole city of full of people committed to helping point out the areas where we can do better.

Join a board, join a community organization, become a volunteer, actions not words.

I see a Fort Scott we’re we are here to help each other out.

Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest football coaches of all time said this, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”
“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

There are so many issues we need to be addressing, there are so many problems for us to solve.

We can’t have everything be a priority, otherwise nothing is.

I hope and envision that progress is possible, together. I call upon this commission, I call upon the people of this community, I call upon all the people  of Fort Scott to decide we are going to be a people that come together and put the City Of Fort Scott upon our shoulders.  That we decide, here and now from this moment forward, that everything that we do and everything that we say has an impact on all of those around us.

I envision a community that talks to you, not about you.

I envision a community that looks for points of agreement and progress, even if it’s only an ounce.

For even a small ounce  of progress is better than pounds of regress and rage.

I want to be the type of commission that adds value to community, not poisons the value of other contributions.

I envision a commission intent on focusing on the idea, not who gets credit for coming up with it.

I want to be the kind of community leaders who go first with trust and truth.

Where we miss the mark, or drop the ball, let’s acknowledge it.  Let us never be afraid to admit when we are wrong, take ownership of that, and adjust with authentic intentions.

Let us be more than a community, let us be a family, let us be a tribe, together, building trust.

Let us be better.

God bless us all, and may God continue to bless Fort Scott.

Fort Scott City Commissioner
Matthew Wells
[email protected]
Cell 417-684-1714
Office/fax 620-223-3090

3 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: Matthew Wells”

  1. I have written a weekly column about economics for the Tribune and .Biz for over a year now, and no subject I have analyzed is more critical to the future of FS and BB than this. Our biggest problem is not housing, infrastructure, roads, poverty, etc., it is the verbal cannibalism that takes place every day on social media and gathering spots around the county. It poisons our culture and turns people off quicker and more thoroughly than a pothole or high weeds around an abandoned structure; constructive people have a sense they can do something about the latter, but how can a handful of people change the culture? This issue will cause people to pack up and leave town faster than any physical features that characterizes our community. Well said, Commissioner.

  2. Thank you Matthew and Greg
    More than ever we need to be compelled to see the importance of community,. We made Bourbon County and Fort Scott our home in 2021. Economics and the availability of real estate brought us here. Having been 30 + year residents of Johnson County, away for 20 years , we could no longer afford to go back. So, Fort Scott became our well-chosen home. What a beautiful , welcoming place to come to live. Matthew Wells makes an excellent appeal for all of us to realize we must face the problem and likely will find it in ourselves. As resentment, discontent and fear rise with the national government and inflation, we need to understand who owns the problem. We will find it is us! Apathy, backbiting, anger, misunderstanding, the list goes on, are symptoms of our neglect of responsibility. Remember when you are pointing the index finger at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at you!!!! Please get up, get involved and ask “how can I help—what can I do?”
    Be honest not “transparent”. Become community.

    1. Great comments, Bonnie. I moved from a small town to Johnson County and lived there for 25 years. I have been in SEK the last 12, and love it. I would enjoy meeting you and your husband.
      As What Whitman (and Ted Lasso) said, “Be curious, not judgmental.

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