It takes a team to play ball

The name has changed several times over the past sixty years, but the dairy and milk processing plant as you near Dothan, Alabama from the east will forever be known to me by its original name, Sanitary Dairy.  It would not be such a catchy marketing name these days, but it really meant something when food safety wasn’t such an automatic on our dinner table.
The dairy was owned by the family of one of my childhood friends.   When visiting him, we would occasionally want to try to get up a baseball game.  We would go by the dairy, pick up some half pints of chocolate milk, get on a tractor and go around to the homes in the rural area to bribe kids, black and white, to come play ball with us.   
We played in a pasture using cow patties for the bases.  It was as much fun as if we were playing at Yankee Stadium.  Looking back, I learned at an early age that it takes a team to play ball.
Last week’s Donalsonville News’ front page announcement of the expansion of Three Notch EMC’s facilities in downtown Donalsonville is just the latest example of it taking a team to play ball.
Three Notch is one of Donalsonville’s oldest businesses. Serving this area since 1938, it has been a model corporate citizen in this community for generations.   Its headquarters have prominently anchored part of downtown adjacent to the county courthouse bringing not only jobs, but citizens from around southwest Georgia into the city.
The growth of Three Notch ultimately led to its need for more land, not an easy task in the middle of downtown.  Several options were discussed and the city and county found itself in competition with other counties for the headquarters and warehousing site.  
The stakes were high for this small community and it appeared that others had the upper hand.  There were many competing individual interests from a variety of players that seemed to cause many to throw up their hands and say there is nothing I can do.  
Those people were right in that there was nothing “I” could do.  However, a group of people became determined to keep Three Notch in its long standing home.  “We have to find a way to say yes”, became the mantra of the growing group of people trying to find a solution to this problem.  It wasn’t a problem; it was an opportunity.
Slowly a team developed, a team of seemingly different interests that put personal gain aside for the common good.  So many things had to fall in place to have success and there was no chocolate milk to help seal the deal.
In the end, Alf Greene, the Seminole County Board of Commissioners, the Industrial Development Authority, the Cloverleaf Development Corporation, and most of all Three Notch EMC all decided to play ball.   Many others, behind the scene, joined the team.  
Don’t underestimate the importance of last week’s announcement of Three Notch’s expansion in this small town.  In baseball terms, the team hit one out of the park.  In doing so, we are all winners.
o0o
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]

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