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'Why I Love Statesville': Small town charm, people are reasons to cherish community
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'Why I Love Statesville': Small town charm, people are reasons to cherish community

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Bethany Barkley, right, was the first-place winner of the essay contest. Cloey Stewart won second place.

Muhammad Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” My friends and I cherished the beautiful mural of Muhammad Ali that was downtown. I have lived in Statesville for 18 years and love many things about it.

I admire the nostalgic historic homes that contain the most breathtaking and prestigious architecture. I cherish Fort Dobbs and how it educates our community about the history of the French and Indian War. I value our safe, picturesque, and amusing parks.

I appreciate my scenic and calming walks from Mitchell Community College to the Columbian Bakery on Broad Street; the smell of freshly baked goods helps me rejuvenate before my next class. I always enjoy the sushi from Sakura’s. Despite all the marvelous things Statesville has to offer, the reason I am most proud to call Statesville my home is because of the way we come together as a community for those in need.

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What makes a community is the type of people that are in it. Laura Langston is a 96-year-old Statesville resident; boys from her church come and mow her lawn often. My mother had back surgery, and South River Baptist Church arranged for someone to bring me and my family dinner every night for weeks. The church also has a food bank that provides meals to many families every Thursday.

When my great-grandmother died of COVID-19, co-workers at Rice Fun smothered me with love and compassion. One of my dearest friends, Everrete Sherrill, and her family work with the Iredell’s Animal shelter. They have fostered countless dogs and helped them find loving homes.

Every year West Iredell High School has a veteran’s ceremony to honor those who have risked their lives for America’s freedom. My grandfather, Charles Nicholas Mullis, was a firefighter for 30 years, a sheriff’s deputy for two years, a drill sergeant in the Army, was drafted to South Korea, and volunteered in Vietnam. His burial at Iredell Memorial Gardens had taps played, honored guards, crossed ladders, a last call, and the whole community honored him. Everywhere around me, our community helps one another, and it is beautiful.

What I love about Statesville is our community. Despite an election that split America into two and living through a traumatic pandemic, we all come together when others need it. Statesville is not perfect, but I try to live with my glass half-full rather than half-empty. I love our small town charm, and I love our people.

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