At long last, we celebrate leadership grads

Published 12:51 am Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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The last year has led to many ups and downs, but for one of Shelby County’s greatest traditions, there was finally an end to the rollercoaster ride for a special group on Wednesday, April 14, when Leadership Shelby County hosted its graduation ceremony for the class of 2020.

In an event that was delayed by a year, members of the class finally got the opportunity to see their hard work pay off by receiving their diploma and celebrating a special occasion with their classmates.

The Leadership Shelby County class is a timeless tradition and brings out the best of the county.

Residents from all across the county with different backgrounds and different fields of employment come together as leaders to join a special network that benefits the county.

And this year’s class was no different with the unique twist of having to finish their year amid the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the graduation being postponed several different times, all of the good done wasn’t forgotten and it was finally celebrated last Wednesday.

This class of 2020 comprised of 37 different leaders from across the county, each of who was split into three groups to work on a project to benefit the county.

In their time working to complete their project, they not only connected with people in their own group who they may have never met otherwise, but combined their resources and were introduced to others outside of their group.

Group 1 worked with Pelham Parks and Recreation and Alabama Graphics to install signage along Pelham’s trails, which focused on the history of the land and the families who donated it.

Group 2 partnered with American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555 of Pelham to create a space for families to hold a rodeo.

Group 3 worked with Central Alabama Wellness and other groups to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. They created a rack card with information to connect people with helpful resources, and coordinated “Be Well Shelby” and “Be Well Chilton” events in Shelby and Chilton counties.

This year also marked the end of an era with Leadership Shelby Executive Director Carol Bruser announcing her retirement after serving 15 flawless years as the group’s leader.

She is a big reason the organization has turned into what it has. When she participated during as part of the 2000-2001, she talked about being nervous doing some of the exercises the class requires without knowing many of the people she participated with.

But she soon realized its benefit, saying she fell in love with the program because of the connections it formed.

Many lives have been impacted and many friends have been formed due to Leadership Shelby, while the county has been the ultimate winner.

We will miss Bruser’s presence leading the program each year, but just like everyone else, she is always a part of a growing group of leaders in Shelby County.