American Village has plenty to celebrate

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tom Walker, Founder and Executive Director of The American Village, is not afraid to dream. Nor is he afraid to do the work, the planning, the consensus building and the myriad of other tasks needed to see a dream into reality.

Tom Walker’s dream was to create a uniquely impactful civics education center; he has done that and more.

Tomorrow morning, in something of an unassuming way, The American Village will celebrate its sixth anniversary.

It is not that The Village has little to celebrate; far from it to be correct. The Village has, one student at a time, helped preserve liberty and freedom for all of us by teaching the next generation our history.

The American Village (The Citizenship Trust as it is officially named) was formed by a legislative act in 1995. Since that time, much has been accomplished at The Village:

– Numerous historically influenced buildings have been constructed that help capture the spirit of places such as Mount Vernon and The Oval Office.

– Awarded the Governor’s Tourism Award in 2000.

Constructed a Colonial Chapel completely through private funding.

Opened a renovated barn for use as a group meeting facility.

– Ground has been broken for The President’s House which will be a Southern Living Showcase House drawing thousands of visitors to our area.

– Plans are well on their way to locate a U.S. Veteran’s Cemetery next to The Village and for expansion of several other programs and buildings.

But Tom Walker would be quick to tell you The Village is about much more than buildings and awards; it is about transforming civic education from words and pictures in books to a sparkle in a young person’s eye as the passion for America’s past and its future become tactical and real.

It is about making a difference in the education of our young people.

Yes, the folks at The American Village are doing a magical job of teaching students to know our history and to be good stewards of its preservation.

But they are also teaching us that one person’s dream, with the proper skills and passion to see it through can be made a reality