My Pride Meter Has Broken From Excessive Use

The word pride can be defined as a satisfied sense of achievement for a person or a group for choices made and actions taken, and with it comes praise, independent self-reflection, a feeling of dignity, self-respect and satisfaction.
I take pride in calling myself a citizen of Seminole County. Living in this community gives me the opportunity to be associated with a countless number of people who routinely go beyond what is expected, make a positive difference and always seem to be working on something to make us all proud. This place is special and it is the special people in it that make me proud to call it home.
 The qualities of being a good community citizen –  doing the right thing, being a good neighbor and working together to do whatever needs to be done to make today better than yesterday –  are taught from birth around here.
This past week my feelings of pride  – in the accomplishments of those who do it right in this community  – reached a monumental high.
The gauge on my pride meter began to rise during the emotional and memorable showcase of talent and sportsmanship exhibited by the Seminole County Indians and Lady Indians throughout the entire basketball season, and specifically in the final games of the tournament. These teams excelled beyond even their expectations and their desire for excellence fired up the entire community. Even when their season fell short of their goals, the feeling of pride by the entire community in the players and coaches for what they had accomplished was overwhelming and so very much deserved. It underlined the true definition of what it really means to be a proud Indian and bleed green around here.
The gauge on my pride meter moved even higher  during the chamber of commerce’s awards banquet last Thursday. Hearing the accomplishments of all the award winners made me proud for them and for what they had achieved.
Listening to the sincere appreciation in the voice of Dale Swanner as he accepted the Public Safety Officer of the Year award made me proud for him and for his family.  When I saw the look on the face of Marsha Bond as her name was announced as Citizen of the Year, and heard the selfless gratitude in her voice as she accepted the award, my pride meter took another emotional jump upward.
The people who walked out of that room with an award are the ones that inspire us to be better people. They embody all that is good about this selfless community and give us so many reasons to be proud.
With my pride meter now working overtime, what came next broke it.  On Friday morning, after receiving clearer details of the bank robbery the day before, the needle on my pride meter spun all the way around and fell off.  
The professionalism, bravery and determination exhibited by the bank employees in their time of crisis, and in each and every one of the law enforcement personnel in the performance of their duties, were inspiring, admirable and sincerely appreciated.
Hearing the details of the actions taken by our local  and regional public safety officers in the tracking and apprehension of the two criminals, I was overwhelmed with pride in their success and proud to be a part of the community they work daily to protect. Two bad men dared darken one of our community’s bright and sunny days and our officials did not let the sun set until their job was complete and is was clear to the criminals they had messed with the wrong town. That made me proud.
Mario Andretti once said, “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of a goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain success.”
He must have known someone from Seminole County when he wrote that. Because just this past week, I saw that desire, that determination and that commitment in the play of our Seminole County athletes, on the faces of our chamber winners and in the actions of our law enforcement officials. It made me proud for them and for each and every one they touched.
From excessive use, my pride meter broke this week, and I am so very, very proud of the people who broke it.

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