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The American work ethic still has a pulse

Scott Ballard District Attorney

3 months 18 days 7 hours ago |17 Views | | | Email | Print

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas. It’s a unique time of the year. We take a little time off work and think about things that are important.


Like work.


I know. It’s crazy. Why would anybody think about work during their time off?


There are many reasons. But, for me it’s because I love what I do.


It’s not like I’m hurting myself. Some of you lift heavy things at work. You endure the weather. You work long hours at a time when most of us are asleep. You do dangerous stuff. You stay on your feet until your back aches. You herd grumpy children all day. You input data until your eyes cross—slurp a jolt of coffee—and input some more.


Me? I talk a lot. I read and write some. I drive from one courthouse to another across our beautiful circuit. I read case files and determine which strategy is likely to win.


And I cheer for the folks who do the heavy lifting. The law enforcement officers. The court personnel. And, of course, our staff.


I wish you could know them better. I wish you could see them, listen to them, sense their determination to help. I think you would be impressed with their skill and with their zeal.


In an age when too many choose public assistance over employment and clock-punching over meaningful accomplishment, these men and women have chosen to serve.


They’re not alone, thank God. If you take time to notice, you’ll find that they have kindred spirits in every walk of life. This educator doesn’t just teach classes—she inspires children and transforms lives. That repairman doesn’t just install parts—he rescues people when they are in dire need. Folks like that are everywhere. We just need so many more of them.


But, back to the men and women of the DA’s office. Let me give you a quick example of what makes me proud.


Steven Hicks is one of our investigators in the Fayette office. He lives over an hour away and is never late to work. If we need anything—finding a lost witness, moving equipment, getting crime lab results, serving subpoenas, encouraging a crime victim—he’s on it immediately. Nobody has to ask.


On Christmas Day he hurt himself. Helping his little boy cut the plastic ties from a packaged toy, the knife slipped and stuck three inches into Steven’s leg. When he pulled it out, blood squirted everywhere.


He spent from 4:00 until 10:30 in the emergency room.


The next day he was at work. Limping, aching, but serving a community with his talents.


If America is going to rise out of its European-mimicking funk, if we are to return to the work ethic that made us great, if we are again to inspire the world with our brilliance, creativity and can-do swagger (Mr. Putin, I think you called it a dangerous American exceptionalism), we can start by admiring the true American attitude when we see it.


It’s my privilege to hang out around it every day.

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